Enhancing resilient community decision-making using building performance simulation

Christina J. Hopfe*, Robert S. McLeod

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is widely acknowledged that faced with diverse future impacts (including extreme weather events, economic instability, energy supply vulnerabilities and pandemics) buildings and communities’ worldwide need to become increasingly resilient. The work presented in this paper investigates how Community Design and Decision Making (CDDM) processes can be enhanced using smart decision making techniques involving Building Performance Simulation (BPS). This work presents action research based on findings from a real-world case study project involving the design of a mixed-use zero carbon community centre, planned for the Findhorn Eco-Community, in Scotland, UK. Throughout the conceptual and early design stages the community played a crucial part in the decision-making process. BPS results coupled with the use of sensitivity analysis (SA) techniques incorporating resilience as a performance criterion contributed to establishing a multi-criteria evidence base from which to inform the CDDM process. Although not yet fully implemented in commercial simulation tools, the approaches used (e.g. uncertainty analysis, using resilience as a performance objective) proved to be invaluable in informing and facilitating the CDDM process. Overall an integrated two-way communication process (using BPS and uncertainty analysis for decision support) enabled the community to play an informed role in the design decision-making process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107398
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021


  • Community design and decision making (CDDM)
  • Mixed-use zero carbon community centre
  • Passivhaus
  • Resilience
  • Smart decision-making
  • Uncertainty analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction

Cite this