UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Understanding predicted vs. operational performance of schools: a building systems perspective

30 November 2016

Understanding predicted vs. operational performance of schools: a building systems perspective

By Esfand Burman


Prof. Dejan Mumovic 

Dr. Rokia Raslan

Industrial Supervisor/Sponsor:

Dr. Judit Kimpian/AHR Global (previous name: Aedas Architects)

2010 - 2015

Almost half the UK’s carbon emissions come from use of buildings with 27 per cent from homes and a further 17 per cent from non-domestic buildings.

School buildings are a significant sub category of non-domestic buildings. UK schools account for 6-8% of the energy used in public and commercial buildings. There are also wider environmental and sustainability related factors associated with schools; UK schools house approximately 10 million pupils who spend almost 30% of their life in schools and, as such, schools are the second most important indoor environment after children’s homes.

The energy data collated from recently built low carbon schools demonstrate that 80% of these buildings emit more CO2 than the median UK school building of all age groups. This is the main driver for this research project.

The aim of this project is to establish the operational performance in newly built low carbon schools by adopting a building systems perspective. This approach includes post occupancy evaluation of building envelope, building services, control provisions, use of space and indoor environmental quality, regulatory constraints, pedagogical methods and practices, unregulated energy use in schools, and other sources of discrepancy between predicated and actual operation.

It is intended to examine whether current assessment tools are accurate enough to predict energy and sustainability performance of schools and how these tools could be improved. Another objective of the project is to identify appropriate measures that could effectively narrow the performance gap.

The intended outcome of the project is an innovative school design and performance assessment framework, to propose effective methods and develop tools to narrow the performance gap.