MEICON: Minimising Energy in Construction Survey of Structural Engineering Practice Report

Change log
Orr, JJ 
Copping, Alex 
Emmitt, Stephen 

This report presents preliminary findings arising from work undertaken as part of the research project Minimising Energy in Construction (MEICON) . The long-term vision of MEICON is for the built environment to be designed cost-effectively, based on whole life cycle energy consumption using minimum material resource for appropriate performance. Our immediate ambition is to use feasibility studies to identify and address sources of wasted embodied energy, value-less cost, and performance over-design in the construction industry to transform sector wide design practice and define the research areas that will underpin this transformation. As a first step, an online survey was undertaken to examine current culture and practice in structural engineering design as it relates to embodied energy. This report combines analysis of these survey responses with initial explorations of some of the issues that surround the minimisation of embodied energy. Chapter 1 provides the highest-level outcomes in a condensed format. Chapter 2 provides the underlying data and analysis. The results of the survey reveal wide variations and uncertainty in both regulated and cultural behaviours. We find that embodied energy efficiency is not yet a high priority in design, resulting in buildings that consume more of our material resource than may be necessary. The wide spread of responses to the majority of questions demonstrates a lack of consensus across the sector when considering questions of material efficiency, illustrating both the scale and potential opportunity for the sector to lead in solving the challenges ahead. Our findings are supplemented throughout the report by new questions that have arisen during this initial study. These are grouped into eighteen “Industry Questions” and twenty-one “Research Questions”, each of which will require a collaborative, sector-wide effort to solve. We therefore call upon you to join us and help us to solve these challenges as we move towards minimal energy construction. Visit to find out how you can help.

Is Part Of
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/P033679/1)
Is supplemented by: