Why eco-architects, installers and clients should KISS

Complex and dynamic home renewable energy integration can tie us all up in knots. Even with the freedom of a large budget, don’t fall under the illusion that increased system complexity and functionality will solve all the home’s energy problems.

In fact when some of the basics get overlooked increased technology integration can lead to high failure rates and overburdened clients; and perpetually high annual maintenance requirements.

As always the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle applies.

Here are some top tips for keeping things simple during the design and implementation phase of a sustainable build to ensure that you still retain top system functionality:

Renewable Energy Integration Tips

Fabric first

Always think about the opportunities for permanent building fabric improvements, insulation and draft proofing, before thinking about what fuel source will be used to heat the home.

Money spent here will pay dividends during the first winter season and save you the most of your hard earned pounds. 

Prioritise core building systems and control

There may be the option to install lots of fancy sustainable products into the home (especially if it is a new build), but there are fundamental solutions that you should focus your budget on to ensure lasting results and low running costs.

Firstly…Occupancy comfort always comes first, think about nailing down an efficient heating /ventilation and emitter system with particular focus on high quality control.

Then… think about micro electricity production and water harvesting to supplement your low running costs and reduce them further.

Finally… consider your home’s “must have” AV systems and appliances. Remember these have no chance of saving you money so choose wisely and if in doubt leave them out!

Minimise suppliers

There are a 1001 manufacturer’s suppliers and installers out there who will try to convince you of their individual merits; but as part of a solid simplicity strategy it is worth choosing a few key suppliers and getting them to put a package together that works. Even if it means you may miss out on some of the ultimately efficient products: it’s always better to have an efficient system successfully designed and integrated, than a super-efficient system that isn’t!

Apart from anything else, managing a few suppliers will make everyone’s lives easier and you should be able to drive down the price too by packaging products and services!

Client Interaction

Ultimately the client will be left to interact with the systems in the home and cannot be expected to learn complex control procedures, troubleshooting and other such engineering feats. Simple integrated systems require only simple interaction, and your client will be ever thankful that their multi-functional and comfortable home needs little ongoing intervention.

The first step to apply KISS to your home energy design and integration is to get an independent energy feasibility report. Use Mesh Energy to simplify the process and ensure no one falls out!

Doug Johnson

Doug is a chartered mechanical engineer and has had the pleasure of being involved in the UK renewable sector since 2008. With wide-ranging operational and design experience in both the domestic and commercial sectors across a wide range of recognised technologies he hopes to be able to share his experience to help enlighten and save you hassle along the way.