Integral method for energy transition takes first steps

With current developments in the field of sustainability, climate adaptation, viruses and population decline issues, the human need for buildings to live, work, and learn in, is logically changing. It is of great importance that the rather conservative building world responds to these trends by cooperating more closely and with greater commitment with residents, users, social platforms, and designers. On this basis, new constructions can be built that suit the wishes and wants of our time and take into account a rapidly changing future. This certainly applies to the energy transition, which is integrated linked to this.

The 6-P method
In the 6-P method, developed by dr. ing. Ron de Vrieze lecturer-researcher, who obtained his PhD in 2019, solutions to facilitate such a joint design process are being sought within the Living Lab EnTranCe (IWP) in cooperation with construction engineering firm Tandem BV in Loppersum, and with students. At the same time together we are working on further validation and valorisation of the 6-P method, which was original developed theoretically by research into the design and processes of school buildings.

The 6-P method can be traced back to six human needs. The 6-P’s make an associative connection between several different assessment and weighting systems, which are connected from the level of human needs to the level of sustainable development. For example, the six PESTEL sustainability factors which are now integrated into the Master Energy for Society and can be linked to the six needs.

At the moment (March 2022), determination methods (combinations of different weighting systems) are being further developed to identify and balance the sections of the project briefs, the designs, and the identified opportunities in the built environment. The first findings from practice  are consistent with the developed system theory.

Project leader and coach of the IWP innovation team Ron de Vrieze asked Roy Bonnema, alumnus of our Master Energy for Society and graduated on this method and now working as project coordinator at the Tandem company, to explain the positive experiences he found in practice:

Why is the 6P method so interesting for an engineering firm like Tandem?
There are several reasons. First of all, the 6P method fits to our current way of working. The end user is central positioned in the design process, but it is also important to take into account the environment of the building for end users. The 6P-method enables Tandem to continue developing the design method and to take their designs to a next level.

In addition, by integrating the 6P-method in our way of working, Tandem design method also gets this way a more robust academic base. Also, the use of the 6P-method enables Tandem to apply a more holistic perspective (helicopter view) to each design assignment. The points mentioned above ensure that Tandem can approach design assignments in a future-proof manner and is well prepared for a construction world in which sustainability plays a major role. By using the 6P-method, Tandem can design buildings with a long lifespan because it approaches design assignments from a broad perspective and not only designs for current end user wishes and wants but also for future. In the 6P method, the balance between nature and the built environment also plays an important role, allowing more consideration of ecological factors.

What is Tandem’s experience in validating the 6P method?
The process of validation expires positive so far. As shown in the figure below, Tandem validates as well as valorises the 6P method through different routes. At first  Tandem has evaluated one of its recent projects.
The analysis of the Programme of Requirements for the VV Winsum soccer club building provided valuable information and contributed to validate the 6P method. The results showed that the balance of polarities largely correspond with the balance prescribed by the 6P method. At a number of points, the so called entities seemed not well in balance with each other. Subsequently, it also appeared that this imbalance caused problems in practice. Based on the balance in the project brief requirements, the 6P-method accurately predicted certain problems, which indicates that the method works in practice.

Secondly, the 6P method is applied in the project Sportcluster Loppersum. Here, applying the 6P method also has a direct effect. The use of the 6P method enables Tandem to better distinguish  the needs of individual end users, and groups of end users. It also allows Tandem to better distinguish the needs of different groups of end-users based on, for example, age, type of sport or role within the club.  In addition, the use of the 6P-method creates more awareness of the tensions between micro (space level), meso (building level) and macro (environment level) interests and the tensions within the levels itselves. The 6P method enables Tandem to give the various scale levels a role in the design process in a balanced way.

Finally, the 6P method enables Tandem to better analyse problems. The 6P-method gives more insight in underlying patterns and interrelations that determine the (un)balance between different factors. This allows Tandem to take appropriate action that addresses the current issues in a project without creating new problems as other factors get out of balance. The anticipatory application of the 6P method will be executed in the nearest future. Currently, an innovation team is working with a large number of students to develop plans for the Hoog Hammen site and to make it completely off-grid. Students from 2nd to 4th year HBO of the Hanze and Van Hall Larenstein, together with a student from our Master Energy for Society and the company Tandem with our alumnus Roy Bonnema are working on this plan.

For more information about the 6-P method can be found in the white paper ‘Unravelling the complexity of sustainable design and construction processes‘ of Ron de Vrieze.

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