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Architecture

Zero Carbon and Retrofit Housing

Research in this area concerns zero-carbon retrofit of buildings and is linked to the University cross-disciplinary Low Carbon Research Centre. The work is developing methods and tools through experimental research, including the monitoring and post occupancy evaluation of a zero carbon retrofit house. This strand of research is led by Professor Lubo Jankovic.

The UK's target for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is 80 per cent by year 2050. Domestic buildings are responsible for 28 per cent of the total UK carbon emissions, out of which 73 per cent goes for space and water heating.

Much research has focused on zero and low carbon buildings for new build rather than low or zero carbon retrofit. Given the fact that new build in the domestic sector is only 1 per cent of the total stock, and that 80 per cent of houses in 2050 will be those already in existence, Roaf's claim that "buildings are the front line of our defence against climate change" possesses significant credibility.

Lubo Jankovic, Professor of Zero Carbon Design at Birmingham School of Architecture, has developed a structured approach for zero carbon retrofit, which combines dynamic simulation methods and economic analysis methods to achieve economically viable zero carbon solutions, demonstrating substantial financial returns from successful designs.

In his book entitled 'Designing Zero Carbon Buildings Using Dynamic Simulation Methods', published by Routledge in 2012, he demonstrated that zero carbon retrofit is perfectly possible and can be economically viable today. Whilst significant progress has been achieved, this is a field in which further research is both required and encouraged.