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

Problem

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.

Solution

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