New collaborative research aims to reduce impact of overheating in new housing

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Reducing overheating in housing

The Low Carbon Building (LBC) Group of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD) at Oxford Brookes University has launched an innovative research-based Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Encraft, an independent engineering consultancy firm based in Leamington Spa.

The KTP is entitled OVERTAKE (Tackling overheating in new-build homes) and will run for 34 months.

The £220k project has received funding from Innovate and Encraft to develop novel tools and products for assessing and preventing the occurrence of summertime overheating in new-build housing and extra care homes which have been built to high energy efficiency standards – an issue of rapidly growing importance as the climate warms.

The project will use empirical evidence, simulation and analysis to develop unique solutions for mitigating overheating risks in new housing. New datasets will be generated to inform future standards on overheating.

Professor Rajat Gupta, Director of the Low Carbon Building Group, Oxford Brookes University

The KTP is led by Professor Rajat Gupta from Oxford Brookes University’s School of Architecture, who is also the Director of the OISD and LBC Group. He said: “This collaborative project strongly builds upon our research on building performance evaluation and climate adaptation in care settings. 

“The project will use empirical evidence, simulation and analysis to develop unique solutions for mitigating overheating risks in new housing.  New datasets will be generated to inform future standards on overheating.”

Dr Sarah Price from Encraft is the project’s industry supervisor while Dr Ella Quigley, PhD in Civil and Building Engineering at Oxford Brookes has been appointed as the KTP Associate. Dr Adorkor Bruce-Konuah, Research Fellow in the LCB Group is providing specialist input related to data analysis.

The LCB Group has a strong track record in conducting research on overheating in buildings, through the EPSRC-funded project on suburban neighbourhood adaptation for a changing climate, Innovate UK-funded research  on building performance evaluation and the recent Joseph Rowntree funded research study on Care provision fit for future climate. This latest study found that there is little awareness of preparation to prevent health risks posed to the UK’s ageing population by summertime overheating in care facilities. 

KTP is a UK-wide government programme which matches ambitious and recently qualified graduates with businesses who want to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills. 

Dr Sarah Price, Passivhaus Consultant and Encraft’s Acting Head of Building Physics said: “This is an ideal opportunity to combine academic excellence with a commercially successful business. 

“The programme will help to increase our knowledge of overheating and develop software tools related to overheating, as well as other consultancy products.”

The Low Carbon Building Group and Encraft have been collaborating on another Innovate UK-funded research project, I-life, on guaranteeing energy performance of new homes. The project will achieve this by developing and testing an innovative insurance product that underpins energy performance warranty for new housing to reduce the performance gap that occurs between designed intent and actual outcomes.