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The challenge of shape and form (NF72)

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The challenge of shape and form: understanding the benefits of efficient design (NF72)


This report, released by the National House Building Council (NHBC) Foundation, focuses on housing designs with lower heat loss areas or more efficient shapes and discusses ways that designs can be improved. The document highlights the energy saving benefits of choosing efficient forms of housing and avoiding unduly complex shapes. According to the authors, future approaches to energy efficient design and regulation might start with a consideration of shape and form before consideration of the fabric insulation and efficient services.    


The report begins with an introduction to ‘Form Factor’ and how it varies across typical home types such as apartments, bungalows and houses (terraced, semi-detached and detached) and compares the space heating demands of different types of homes. It then explains how the current energy/carbon methodology in Part L1A of the Building Regulations in the UK, does properly reflect the fabric and efficient services of a design but does not give credit for improved form factor.


The report considers variations in architectural features/shape, such as bays, dormers, rooflights, recesses, staggers and integral garages, and the effect these can have on energy efficiency of the home. It compares the benefits of improved shape and form with those achieved with the orientation of the home. It also draws designers attention to a number of side-effects of a closer consideration of shape and form, including, effect of solar gain, daylighting, ventilation strategy.


The document is freely accessible at the link provided below.