A ‘fabric first’ approach to building design involves maximising the performance of the components and materials that make up the building fabric itself, before considering the use of mechanical or electrical building services systems. This can help to reduce capital and operational costs, improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions whilst reducing ongoing maintenance costs.
Buildings designed and constructed using a fabric first approach aim to minimise the need for energy consumption through methods such as:
- Maximising air-tightness
- Increased levels of insulation
- Optimising solar gain through the provision of openings and shading
- Optimising natural ventilation
- Using the thermal mass of the building fabric
Focusing on the building fabric is generally considered to be more sustainable than relying on energy saving products, or renewable technologies, which can be expensive and may or may not be used efficiently by occupants.
Integrating energy efficiency into the building envelope can decrease the requirement for occupant interaction with complex controls and new technologies, reducing the reliance on the end user to achieve the desired energy performance of buildings.
We guide you through the process by reviewing material selection, U-value performance, thermal bridging and overall energy performance to develop a highly efficient, cost effective fabric design.