Issue 5 - May 2013
In this issue, we look at how to make buildings perform better with a focus on soft landings and explore the different approaches to retrofit

In this issue:

Mind the gap! Find out what you can do to ensure that energy and CO2 predictions are accurate to help improve a building's energy performance.

Soft landings: Find out how to  use open-source framework designed to make buildings perform better.  

Horses for courses: Technology Strategy Board’s Low Energy Building database case studies will provide information on different approaches to retrofit projects.

Retrofit research findings: Lean how the findings of the Queenborough & Rushenden project will provide important insights to ensure that retrofit projects deliver the planned savings.   

Too small to think big: Find out how SMEs can win business from large clients or tier one contractors.

User survey: Some dos and don'ts when developing a user survery to aid in building planning to ensure CO2 and energy savings.



Mind the Gap!

The Green Deal will be effective only if energy savings actually achieved can repay the initial capital outlay. Yet buildings often don’t perform as expected when it comes to energy use. So what can you do to ensure that energy and CO2 predictions are accurate? Plus Points spoke to Lisa Pasquale, Building Performance Evaluation expert at the Institute for Sustainability, to find out. READ MORE...

Soft Landings

BPEPhotograph by Architect’s Architype LTD

Soft Landings – developed by BSRIA with the Usable Buildings Trust, based on an idea by Mark Way of the Darwin Consultancy. This is a methodology designed to make buildings perform better from day one and throughout their working life. It is an open-source framework, freely available to all who wish to adopt it. READ MORE...

Horses for courses


Photograph by Martin Hobby

The Institute for Sustainability teamed up with the Technology Strategy Board to take the lessons learned from a wide range of demonstration projects, and disseminate this learning across the industry. The bank of case studies produced illustrates how different approaches can be used to suit different circumstances. READ MORE... 

Retrofit research findings

Queenborough & Rushenden (Q&R) is the site of a whole house, whole community retrofit scheme specifically chosen for a thorough programme of measurement, monitoring and evaluation (MME). Q&R has the advantage of being a neighbourhood that is typical of many in the UK, including a range of property types and tenures, as well as ages of buildings (and, thus, construction techniques) – and therefore highly replicable.  It spans five different house types – flats, mid-terraces, end-terraces, semi-detached and detached – and contains properties built as long ago as pre 1919 to some constructed in 1982. READ MORE...

Too small to think big

If you run a smaller or medium-sized enterprise (SME) and are daunted by the prospect of winning business from large clients or tier one contractors, it’s time to think again. Large, progressive companies are increasingly opening up their supply chain. Sometimes, contractors will hold sessions for suppliers with business support agencies to explain what they are looking for and the processes they intend to follow. Some of the bigger contractors have sections on their websites about how SMEs can work with them. READ MORE...

User survey

User surveys: do's and don’ts

The way occupants use a building can make all the difference between CO2 and energy savings being realised as planned or not. So conducting a user survey can yield really valuable information. Survey questionnaires are the most effective means of gathering a large number of occupant responses and the results can often be surprising. What users really feel may differ from the impressions given by designers, buildings managers or a few complainants with loud voices. But getting a questionnaire right takes some work. Here are some key do’s and dont’s to help:


  • Keep questionnaires short: two A4 pages is good, more than three can be too long.

  • Ensure you give people an opportunity to indicate indifference if you use a scale to rate responses. They should be able to choose a neutral point: if they are neither too hot nor too cold then they should be able to tick a value of three (neutral) on a five-point scale.

  • Give respondents lots of opportunities to comment, but keep the comments short.

  • Take account of the relevant context of the timing of the survey. External temperatures or issues such as nearby construction work can affect peoples’ responses and influence the results.

  • Explain how respondents will benefit from participating in the questionnaire, such as informing changes that lead to improvement to the conditions in their building. 


  • Use technical terms which occupants might not understand ("What do you think of the trickle ventilators?")

  • Include leading questions (e.g."Are you feeling uncomfortable?", which leads the respondent to think about discomfort). Instead ask questions like “How do you find the temperature in the afternoons in summer?”

  • Force respondents to tick answers when they might not want to. Give them a 'no response', or an ‘other’ box to express what they really think.

  • Include questions about things you can find out for yourself, such as “Is the building energy efficient?”

  • Forget to feedback results to participants when the survey’s over. This could reduce buy-in to the subsequent plans.

About FLASH+
The FLASH+ project is part financed by the South East European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit

FLASH+ has been designed to provide a range of free business support to help over 250 Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the South East of England exploit high growth, low carbon business opportunities. The project will focus on the results from measurement, monitoring and evaluation of building performance and give businesses access to learning and best practice from cutting edge new build and retrofit projects via established trade and professional networks. These will be managed and coordinated by the SECBE. All FLASH+ delivery partners are committed towards equal opportunities and diversity, in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.

 In partnership with:



Constructing Excellence

Efficient Refurbs




Diary Dates

FLASH+ events 

22 May 2013
BIM and the client

9.00am - 1.00pm

For more information click here

6 June 2013
Ventilation - a practical workshop 

9.00am - 1.00pm

For more information click here 

For more details, go to:
/flashplus /flashplus_events
or call Tina McGeachan on 0118 9207 204


14 and 15 June 2013
Eco Technology Show 2013, Brighton

Be the first to find out the results of the impact assessment at the Queenborough & Rushenden project.

The Eco Technology Show is the UK's premier event for trade, building owners, occupiers, and the general public covering sustainable build, energy, transport and technology. For more information click here 



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