Reading research contributes to new eco design tool for industry
Release Date 25 February 2011
University of Reading research has been taken forward by industry to foster sustainability in construction projects around the world.
Professor Emeritus Derek Clements-Croome, of the School of Construction Management and Engineering, has worked in partnership with engineering consultancy Hilson Moran and his former PhD student, Dr Husam Al Waer, to develop a tool that can guide the future design of planning and development schemes for eco-cities.
The Sustainable Built Environment Tool (SuBET) evolved from an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant as part of the SUE programme, the research aim of which was to investigate how to achieve a more sustainable urban environment which would benefit inhabitants and users. It was featured at the Millbank Tower earlier this month in an EPSRC projects-to-practice day.
The partners recognised there was a clear gap in the industry for a tool that could be used to address sustainability and carbon mitigation issues and cover missed opportunities. With the support of Matt Kitson, Director of Sustainability at Hilson Moran, the tool has gone from theory into practice.
SuBET incorporates over 70 indicators of environmental, social, cultural and economic impacts. It focuses on the whole development, such as water, energy, site selection, land use, greenhouse gas emissions, transport and infrastructure.
Professor Clements-Croome paid particular attention to how the tool could be used for 'intelligent' buildings - those that integrate technology to achieve lower energy and water consumption, but also offer healthy surroundings for the occupants. Dr Al Waer, who is now at the University of Dundee, has previously focused on assessing the performance of retail outlets and shopping centres.
Professor Clements-Croome said: "This is a very good example of a university research project, funded by the EPSRC, coming to an end and then being taken up by industry and moved forward to have application in the real world."
The tool will be used by Hilson Moran to provide the highest level of analysis for its clients into the multiple impacts of masterplanning design. These results will then be independently verified by both Professor Clements-Croome and Dr Al Waer in order to deliver best practice in sustainability for clients worldwide.
The Reading research also contributes to a Higher Education Funding Council for England initiative under which higher education institutes help other organisations to reduce their carbon footprints, both through providing existing or potential employees with the necessary knowledge and skills and, more directly, though research and consultancy projects. These cannot be offset against the universities' footprint, but the intellectual contribution to reducing the carbon footprint of others, termed their 'Carbon Brainprint', is immensely valuable in meeting the challenge of global warming.
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