Built Environment conference tackles climate change

UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 31 JULY 2020

The Centre for the Built Environment recently hosted this year’s conference for the UK Indoor Environments Group (UKIEG). ‘Adapting our Built Environment for Climate Change: Some New Challenges and Implications from the Covid-19 Crisis’, took place on 10 July via webinar. Attendees included academics, students and researchers in the built environment sector from the UK and overseas.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the issue of indoor air quality into the spotlight as emerging evidence suggests there may be an association between long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and Covid-19 mortality. The conference builds on PhD research being undertaken by Callistus Gero and Mohamed Barre at BCU into overheating and indoor air quality, supervised by Dr Monica Mateo-Garcia and Professor David Boyd. This research is supported by Barratts, Redrow and Taylor Wimpey – three of the UK’s largest housing developers.

The event was chaired by BCU’s Director of the Centre for Environment and Society Research Professor David Boyd, and demonstrated how academics in the School of Engineering and the Built Environment are at the forefront of current, high quality and cross-cutting research, in areas such as the effects of climate change on buildings, indoor air pollution and healthy indoor environments.

Students had the opportunity to hear from high-profile speakers in the field and learnt first-hand, the latest research and evidence in the area - something they can apply in their professional career. Speakers included Professor Mike Davies from University College London, who sits on the Committee on Climate Change and is an independent adviser to the Government; Professor Roy Harrison from the University of Birmingham and Dr Sani Dimitroulopoulou from Public Health England.

Lecturer in Built Environment Dr Monica Mateo-Garcia organised the event and presented BCU's research into overheating and indoor air quality, outlining the need for a more holistic view to address the complexity of the interactions occurring in indoor environments.

We contacted Dr Mateo-Garcia to find out more about the conference and how students can get involved.

‘Sustainability is at the heart of our Built Environment courses, with themes such as climate change playing an important role. There is a need to build more resilient and energy efficient buildings, putting the health and comfort of building users at the heart. As an expert in low carbon buildings and healthy indoor environments I try to embed these themes into the modules I teach across the Faculty, particularly in BSc Architectural Technology. Sustainability is also a focus in BSc Property Development and Planning and MA Planning Built Environments.

'We also bring in manufacturers and experts in the field from organisations such as UK Indoor Environments Group (UKIEG), UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), leading architectural practices and sustainability consultancies to discuss areas students can address in their coursework. I also bring research into the classroom, showing students research evidence and organising hands-on activities, such as the use of thermal cameras and indoor air quality sensors, so they can see and interpret real-time readings.

Students can join the UKIEG for free and receive newsletters with the latest news and events on Indoor Air Quality. For joining the UKIEG, please email the Membership Secretary.

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