FABRIC FIRST: Maximising Performance, Minimising Cost

Fabric First is a design approach to building which emphasises in-built energy efficiency through maximising the thermal performance of the building envelope and ensuring the building elements work together to be as energy efficient as possible.

Energy efficiency is incorporated into the building fabric over its lifetime. Buildings designed with a fabric first approach don’t require additional mechanical technologies or systems which are expensive and need to be maintained or replaced – to enhance their energy performance.

A building’s energy efficiency is influenced by the three dynamics of:

  • U-values
  • Air tightness
  • Thermal bridging

These elements must all work together to produce a tight, thermally-efficient structure which will last forever, with little maintenance and no moving parts. The lower these values are, the lower the heat loss/drafts/cold within the building.

In addition to the above elements, the material you actually use to build with can affect performance as well. Timber, for instance, can reduce a building’s energy impact by 33%. It also has the lowest embodied carbon level of any commercially available material. Timber can also provide reduced costs and improved return on investment because of the increased speed of build and reduced onsite labour requirements which timber systems allow.

A fabric first approach using timber frame will take the above elements into account to produce, as energy efficient a building as possible. As outlined above, this methodology and outcome will help you maintain cost effectiveness while still achieving exceptionally high quality and built in confidence in the fabric performance of your building.

For more information on Fabric First please contact us on 0845 009 1625.

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