This note, DES 37, originally published in August 2000, was reviewed by the original author in June 2005. The information herein is considered contemporary and relevant, although our understanding of sustainability, rating schemes and design techniques is developing rapidly.
To minimise the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from energy systems, appliances and equipment involves application of a holistic perspective that includes consideration of life cycle impacts, the context within which equipment operates, and a systems approach to optimisation of efficiency. For a building designer or project manager, achieving effective results may involve careful selection of contractors, facilitation of communication and cooperation within the project team, structuring contracts to reward smart design and improved life cycle performance, and inclusion of monitoring of performance outcomes. Attention to detail is extremely important, as a system is only as efficient and effective as its weakest link, and efficient systems often work differently from traditional systems.