On 23rd February 2017 Rachel Serfling wrote:

ECN breakfast – POEs and soft landings

Jenny and I attended today’s Education Construction Network (ECN) breakfast which featured three speakers who are leaders in post-occupancy evaluations (POEs) and soft landings.

David Cheshire of AECOM championed soft landings and pushed for bolstering this overlap between the design/construction and operations teams to maintain design intent and educate users. He stressed that low-tech, robust solutions are best for achieving performance goals, rather than add-ons (described as “eco-bling”).

Jonathan Hines of Architype echoed David’s feelings about add-ons, seeing many of these as nothing more than quick-fixes to meet low carbon requirements. Utilising several case studies, he highlighted their commitment to monitoring schemes once occupied (POEs); in their case, this means quantifying specific criteria, such as CO2 levels, and then troubleshooting.

The event concluded with Jenny Thomas of Performance Consultancy who felt that these processes should begin very early on (as early as Stage 0). Helping clients define strategic goals leads to an outcomes-led design approach to target factors other than performance and energy.

As our own Practice undertakes more and more POEs and strengthens our soft landing strategies, we continually learn from past projects. Although the speakers approached these tools from a variety of viewpoints, a consensus was reached; simple design solutions are more likely to be installed, maintained and used correctly, ultimately leading to optimised results.