Research & Innovation Services

Low Carbon Renewable Building Materials

KT Fellowship Award

Dept of Architecture and Civil Engineering and BRE Wales & South West
Prof Pete Walker 



“The KTA with the University of Bath has been fundamental to BRE gaining a foothold in the South West, through delivering credible, useful and practical research results to mainstream industry.”

Nick Tune, Director, BRE Wales & South West
“The Renewable Materials project has enabled me to gain a much greater understanding of the potential of low impact construction materials, and in so doing has allowed me to pass this knowledge on to a wider circle of clients and developers as a further means of achieving carbon reductions.”

Andrew Sutton, KTA Fellow and Associate Director of BRE South West


More than 25% of the UK’s CO2 emissions are attributable to constructing and operating domestic housing. In response, in 2007 the UK Government introduced a Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH), which requires all new homes to be built to the highest energy-saving CSH rating (level 6) by 2016.  Dramatic reductions in building-related energy consumption will be met, in part, by incorporating low-carbon building materials and enhancing insulation.  The UK construction industry tends to be risk-averse and is slow to adopt low-carbon materials and methods, both traditional and innovative.


Professor Peter Walker of the University of Bath and colleagues at BRE Wales and South West responded by surveying the concerns of a wide range of construction industry participants – designers and architects, surveyors, building contractors, students, policy makers and end users. The project team ran training events and then produced documents to provide state-of-the-art information and advice on energy-saving materials and methods.

Benefits and outcomes

Project activities have raised awareness of the potential use of renewable materials across the construction industry, and especially in the South West, by:

  • Analysing 120+ survey responses to review perceived barriers to the wider adoption of renewable materials.
  • Meeting 400 construction industry professionals through seven engagement events.
  • Creating five freely available, peer-reviewed BRE Information Papers and five Case Studies for low-carbon construction.

The KTA has helped the BRE South West office establish its presence, including beginning to consult on low-carbon building projects such as the St Austell EcoTown project.

KTA team

Prof Peter Walker, Principal Investigator, Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering
Nick Tune, Director, BRE Wales and South West
Andy Sutton, KT Fellow, BRE South West office

Funded by the University of Bath’s EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Account