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Energy-related standards and UK speculative office development

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Building Research & Information
Issue number6
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)615-635
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date14/07/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Non-domestic buildings have great potential for energy-related emission reductions in response to climate change. However, high specification office buildings in the UK demonstrate that regulation, assessment and certification (‘standards’) have not incentivised the development of lower energy office buildings as expected. Making use of the concepts of ‘qualculation’ and ‘calculative agency’, qualitative case studies of 10 speculatively developed office buildings in London, UK provide new insight into why this is the case. Interview data (n = 57) are used to illustrate how ‘market standards’ substitute for user needs, and ratchet up the provision of building services to competitively maximise marketability. The examples of energy modelling and the market’s (mis)use of British Council for Offices guidelines are used to explain how such standards perversely bolster energy-demanding levels of specification and building services, and militate against lower energy design, in the sector researched. The potentials for alternative, performance-based standards and new industry norms of quality are discussed. It is concluded that at least the London speculative office market by its very constitution and operation, including the reliance on standards, continues to create increasingly energy-demanding buildings.