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Business News: Funding awarded to OISD for innovative refurbishment projects

PUBLISHED: 15:04 28 October 2013 | UPDATED: 15:10 28 October 2013

The Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD), which is based within the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment at Oxford Brookes University, has won funding for two innovative sustainable refurbishment projects.

The projects are supported by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) Invest in Innovative Refurbishment Programme sponsored by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and focus on giving historic buildings a green makeover.

TSB and DECC launched the £10m Invest in Innovative Refurbishment Programme competition last year to find sustainable solutions to cutting carbon dioxide emissions and reducing the demand for energy. The aim of the competition is to improve the energy efficiency of existing non-domestic buildings which are responsible for 18% of UK’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Professor Rajat Gupta and Dr Hu Du, researchers from the Low Carbon Building Group at OISD will undertake building performance evaluation studies to monitor the energy and environmental performance of the buildings after changes have been put in place, and lessons learnt from the projects will be shared widely with the industry afterwards.

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Bicester Town Council HQ Green Makeover

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The first winning project is a £840,000 grant from the TSB for The Garth, home to Bicester Town Council in Oxfordshire. The Garth was built more than 180 years ago as a Victorian hunting lodge so it lacks energy saving cavity walls and leaks a considerable amount of heat. However, as The Garth is in the town’s Conservation Area anything that would transform the appearance of the building is ruled out. This means that installing a layer of external insulation is not suitable for this historic building.

A solution has been adopted by the Bicester Town council, architects Ridge and Partners, and project partner Oxford Brookes to insulate the building’s exterior walls from the inside using an advanced, computer-controlled technique. The pioneering project uses laser light beams to process room measurements into precision-cut shapes of insulating foam and dry lining. These shapes make a giant jigsaw which exactly covers the exterior-facing wall of each room in the building, saves money andtime and cuts wastage of insulation materials.

The Garth will also have an extra layer of glass installed on the inside of its single glazed windows to further cut heat loss. This will retain the look of the windows from the outside and respect the building’s location in a conservation area. Together, these solutions will cut the Garth’s energy bills and carbon emissions by 30% and make it a more comfortable place to work. Oxford Brookes University has a share of £107k to undertake monitoring and evaluation of the solutions proposed.

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Innovative Glazing and Ventilation Package for Oldbury House in Bristol

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The second winning project with Ridge and Partners, takes an innovative approach to secondary glazing technologies, and uses a combination of ‘Heated Glass’ and ‘Heat Mirror’ secondary windows which will be installed to different openings within the same room to improve thermal performance. Most importantly, the windows will deliver reduced primary energy use for heating by increasing the average ‘radiant’ temperature of the internal surfaces. This technique has been shown to allow the lowering of the target temperature of the heating system without affecting thermal comfort.

Throughout the project, the ‘Heated Glass’ and Heat Mirror’ windows will be carefully monitored and evaluated to establish the most suitable permutation in terms of energy efficiency, occupant satisfaction/thermal comfort, indoor air quality and impact on the fabric of the building. The desired outcome is to have a tried and tested approach that is a cost effective ‘turnkey’ product, which can be selected by any building owner with similar property to deliver reduced energy use in confidence.

This project has been awarded £525k in funding by TSB. Oxford Brookes University has a share of £77k for undertaking monitoring and post-occupancy evaluation studies post-refurbishment.

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For further information on the Low Carbon Building (LCB) Group of Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development please visit the OISD:

LCB website - www.architecture.brookes.ac.uk/research/lowcarbonbuilding/index.html

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