Right First Time – Delivering Low Energy Projects

We have recently been invited to write the Forward to Mesh Energy’s first new book on low energy design ‘Right First Time’ . In a shifting and challenging world with regards to our rapidly dramatic changing environment, we dutifully accepted the challenge to assist in highlighting the key thoughts behind the book.

In August 2018 Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist launched a school strike to bring attention to the effects of global climate change. By 30 May 2019 she had published a simple book “No one is too small to make a difference”. It’s at this point in time we must all realise that we need to actively play our part in addressing the climate emergency that was approved as a motion in May 2019, by the British Government. So how can we all do our bit, as “No one is too small to make a difference”?

On the 27 June 2019 the RIBA trustees, formally agreed to join the global declaration of an environment and climate emergency at their council meeting. Therefore, those of us involved in the built environment whether you are a designer, client, consultant or a contractor, must all step to address how we will deliver a better world for our children and grandchildren.

As an experienced sustainable architect and tutor who is heavily involved in educating the next generation of architects these issues are close to my heart. I believe strongly that there is no greater evidence, with the many daily reports around the climate emergency around the world, that we have to act now and on every single project we deliver from here on in.

But more practically to make this happen how can we as architects better understand our client’s low energy goals, design low energy homes from first principles and reduce risk during the design and construction phases?

‘Right First Time’ tackles these issues head on, by guiding and teaching all of us using a tried and tested method. It all begins with the Mesh Energy Hierarchy and takes us through a journey to the return on investment for clients, where we will enable clients to save thousands of pounds over the life time of their project and thus delivering a brighter future for our children, in reducing carbon emissions. The basics are just that, each chapter makes its clear through the following stages; energy basics, building the A-team, making and losing money, measuring success, finding superstar installers, improved construction and continued learning.

Energy requirement reduction is the most straight forward way to achieve some if not all of these goals being set out in our built environment industry. To do this we need clear routes and an inherent need to collaborate with our design teams. There are no more excuses, for us not guiding our clients to a successful low energy building output, by following the basics as set out by Mesh. The Mesh Energy principles and best practices in this book, give a clear description of how we can all look to reduce energy usage through building design, that’s evident in this manifesto illustrated here in “Right First Time”.

 As designers + leaders, architects, now need to shoulder ever more responsibility and that pressure is growing for us to take the lead in delivering a low energy future, more than ever before.

 Make no mistake this book demonstrates just how simple the path to a cleaner environment really is!

 Darren Bray, Founder and Director, Studio B.A.D. Architects