Energy conservation and building design: the environmental push and pull factors

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is threefold; to investigate the potential impact of energy conservation policies and legislation on building design; examine energy conservation practices in the building industry; and identify associated barriers to an integrated low energy architectural design process. Design/methodology/approach – A survey of UK architectural design practices was conducted to assess the impact of current energy conservation policies and legislation on current building design, and ascertain architects’ views on the associated barriers and incentives to implementing and sustaining energy conservation strategies in their projects. Findings – Results reveal that building design is affected by existing legislation but often not by policies. Additionally, there is a lack of incentives for the building industry to adopt and implement low energy design strategies that are outlined in existing policies and guidance. Furthermore, results identify a need for increased awareness of the available energy saving technologies. Research limitations/implications – Architects are the first point of contact for driving more energy efficient design and conservation strategies. Therefore, this study was confined to a cross section of their opinions of energy conservation within the UK building industry. Practical implications – The study is useful for those interested in the current levels of implementation of low energy design strategies and the recommendations for the future of the energy conservation and building design in the UK. Originality/value – The study of energy conservation and building design provides insights into current environmental design practices; and identifies problems for the implementation of effective and integrated low energy building design process. The content should be of interest to architects, as it highlights the current level of implementation of energy conservation measures in building design.