Oxford Brookes completes five Future Climate projects to develop new climate change strategies
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Oxford Brookes completes five Future Climate projects to develop new climate change strategies

The Low Carbon Building Group, a research group working in the School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University, has recently completed five ‘Design for Future Climate Change’ projects that develop, test and implement climate change adaption strategies.

The Low Carbon Building Group is one of eight research groups in the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD). OISD is part of the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment at Oxford Brookes, and it is one of the UK’s largest research institutes dedicated to sustainable development research in the built and natural environments. The research group has recently completed five projects in support of the widely-recognised Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform, which was launched by the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board in 2008. ‘Design for Future Climate Change’ is one of six sustainable building challenges that the Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform actively supports.

The five ‘Design for Future Climate Change’ projects were completed in collaboration with leading architectural and engineering practices and have successfully highlighted climate change driven overheating to be the key risk for buildings. Reports by the Government and the wider industry suggest that instances of overheating are already increasing, to be further increased by predicted warming and climate impacts. The projects carried out by the Low Carbon Building Group developed and tested climate change adaption strategies in the areas of comfort, construction and water management. This included a new eco-town development, two low impact schools and two sustainable healthcare buildings located across the UK. Results from these projects showed that improved standards of air tightness, greater reliance on ventilation and increased levels of insulation in new build, low, and zero carbon homes could also lead to a rise in instances of overheating.

Two projects in particular highlighted the need to address overheating during the early building design stage. The results from the NW Bicester Eco-town project and the EPSRC* funded Suburban Neighbourhood Adaption for a Climate Change project showed the effectiveness of adaptation measures in avoiding overheating now, and in the future.

* Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council