I was recently having a discussion with a friend in the Australian Space Agency. We were talking about rocket technology when the term ‘systems engineering’ was mentioned.
In a systems engineering approach no individual component of a system can be altered without first considering its effect on the rest of the system. In systems engineering there is a fundamental understanding that all components work in synergy to collectively perform a function. Consequently, great care must be taken when altering any component part of the system. This is pretty important when designing rockets.
With this ‘systems thinking’ in mind, does it make sense to solely focus on the energy efficiency of our buildings without considering resultant consequences to the building system? What about, Moisture, Indoor Air Quality, Structural Durability?
I often say that building science is not rocket science. This is true but building performance is still a system. If we recognise building performance as a system, understand that energy efficiency is a component part of this system, and understand how the system works, then we will be able to make informed decisions in order to provide a good outcome.