2.5 Low energy buildings

Why do buildings need energy?

Buildings can use a lot of energy. Most of this energy comes from fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. Burning these fuels produces carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. This traps the sun’s energy, warming the atmosphere.

This is a natural process, but we are adding much more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This is causing global warming.

Do a quick energy audit of your school or college:

  • Write down the ways in which you use energy.
  • Find out what fuels provide energy for heat.
  • If you can, find out how much energy is used each year. What units are these measured in?
  • Compare this to the energy you use at home

It’s up to all of us to save energy. But the construction industry can help by creating buildings that use less energy to stay warm. This can help the UK to contribute far less to global warming.

  • The Wates Group’s redevelopment of 10 Eastbourne Terrace, London, successfully handed over in 2008 to Land Securities, is one of the first commercial projects to make use of ground source heat pumps.
  • SEGRO’s business park at Winnersh Triangle, Reading, currently under construction, aims to reduce carbon emissions by 50%, using groundwater for cooling and heating, shading panels to control solar heat and a building envelope that delivers exceptional thermal insulation performance and air tightness.




Log in to save your work and track your progress. Ask your teacher for your user name and password.

Functional skills

  • Give each answer a value (eg 0 for strongly disagree, up to 5 for strongly agree).
  • Work out the average response to each question.
  • Use the graph function to present your results. Select ‘RADAR’ in the graph tool. This will present your data just like in the real DQI tool.

Business Park fly-around