February 2017

36 BUILD / February 2017 , Yonder…Creating and Riding the Wave of Building Physics Engineering Yonder Limited is a specialist teamof building physics engineers, based in Leeds. We caught up with founder Rob Gill to find out more about this exciting young firmand the services it provides. Founded in 2012 by managing director Rob Gill, the possessor of a master’s degree in building services engineering, after a decade as a mechanical engineer and low carbon consultant, Yonder is increasingly accustomed to winning prizes. The Yorkshire-based organisation became the UK Building Physics Engineering Consultancy of the Year in the 2016 Build Sustainable Building Awards, for example. A new facility for Hitachi Rail Europe, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, on which the firm advised, also won the Best Sustainable Manufacturing and Assembly Facility category in that scheme. Other buildings receiving the Yonder treatment, in locations as diverse as Yorkshire, Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire and Kent, have taken accolades from bodies such as the Royal Institution of British Architects. Building physics engineering is a young, but rapidly growing, discipline, at the interface of building services, applied physics and construction engineering. Its practitioners use powerful technological tools to model important elements of developments’ performance and recommend ways of improving them. Yonder’s team works with professionals, including architects, developers, project managers and contractors, across the UK. It contributes to buildings’ passive design – their use of natural sources, like the sun, for heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting; leads on their active design, involving deploying non-natural elements, such as boilers and electric lighting, for these purposes; and defines constructions’ ideal renewable energy sources. The firm’s experts deliver significant sustainability and other benefits to buildings, including lower construction costs, reduced running expenses - through factors such as minimised energy consumption - better indoor environments and lower carbon emissions. Yonder places state-of-the-art dynamic simulation modelling (DSM) software at the core of many services it offers. DSM simulates energy flows around and through a building, allowing its thermal environment and energy consumption to be predicted. Since inception, Yonder has advised on more than 500 projects, with end-uses in the public and private sectors, including in the commercial, distribution, education, healthcare, industrial, leisure and retail fields. But Mr Gill is driven by motivations much deeper than commercial opportunism, based on a hunch that building physics engineering is an idea whose time has come. Outlining his organisation’s philosophy, he says: “We believe you can’t make a construction truly sustainable unless the internal environment, energy consumption, carbon dioxide emissions and building economics are balanced. “That means internal comfort should never be diluted by factors like energy efficiency and costs, though these are equally important. Yet in too many projects this watering down is exactly what occurs.” Mr Gill says his firm’s balanced approach echoes the internationally recognised definition of the three pillars of sustainability - the economy, society and the environment. Asked to indicate how these principles translate into practice, he says: “Our input recently cut energy and carbon dioxide consumption by almost 11 per cent in a building at a higher education institution, achieving annual cost savings of almost £6,000, to quote just one example.” Mr Gill’s unshakeable belief in the capacity of building physics engineering to deliver unique and important benefits, reinforced by his firm’s success in its initial four years, help explain some significant recent developments. Yonder was originally allied to a mechanical and electrical engineering operation, as most competitors still are, but became fully independent towards the end of 2016, its 14-strong team relocating from Harrogate to impressive, high-tech offices in central Leeds. Explaining the reasons for the amicable divorce, Mr Gill says: “Building physics engineering is a specialist discipline in its own right. Mechanical and electrical engineering is concerned with building services, whereas we focus on the whole construction. “Independence is allowing us to concentrate fully on our field of expertise, give freer rein to our successful philosophy, invest in our specialism and deliver unbeatable customer care and service.” 1701BU12 “Independence is allowing us to concentrate fully on our field of expertise.”

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