Energy efficiency and environmental impact and performance are of ever increasing importance. Monitoring and reporting on performance within the built environment allows us to investigate the potential of new technology. We gather evidence, analyse findings and seek to inform decision-making about fresh approaches to building design, with the achievement of challenging global environmental targets firmly in mind.
In the UK, 45 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions come from architectural structures; the opportunity to reduce this figure is significant. We are committed to research, which has a direct impact on measures to improve the sustainability of new buildings and refurbishment projects alike. Collaborating with colleagues, professional bodies, communities and business, we transfer knowledge directly into boardrooms, forums and building sites.
We need energy to heat, cool, ventilate, light and power buildings. Our challenge is to find cleaner, smarter, cheaper ways to achieve those goals. Dependency on fossil fuels has driven the rise in carbon emissions leading to climate change. Innovative technology has a critical role to play in finding solutions. We determine how energy needs can be reduced, how energy can be used more efficiently and verify the measurable benefits of renewable energy sources. In addition, our team conducts theoretical investigations to field tests to assess the potential of projects from bioshading to smart PCM wall coverings.
Sustainable design, construction and materials are vital in reducing carbon emissions within the built environment. With the UK’s low building stock turnover, eco-friendly refurbishment projects must be explored to reduce adverse environmental impacts. It is crucial that we test cutting-edge technology to ensure that performance is evaluated robustly and new developments deliver.
Our team focuses on measures to maintain comfortable indoor climates while minimising the demand for auxiliary energy. We evaluate the thermal performance of external roller blinds and examine how glazed double skin façades deliver multiple benefits. In addition, we have conducted research into low carbon refurbishment, considered the sustainability potential for locally-sourced timber and applied Phase Change Materials (PCMs), which can absorb and store thermal energy to a significantly increased degree in comparison to regular materials.
Areas of research include piloting and evaluating waste and recycling collection systems, investigating approaches to facilitate behaviour change, evaluating the role of incentives on recycling rates, waste management in hard to reach communities, waste prevention, food waste, waste strategy development and commercial and industrial waste. In addition to working extensively in the UK, writing and delivering training programmes, the university has collaborated on projects in South Africa, Nigeria, Bangladesh, France, Cameroon, Belgium and China.