At our fifth annual Colloquium, the Centre’s students, as ever, took centre stage, presenting their work to the assembled industry stakeholders, partners and academics. But this year marked a milestone as we celebrated our first two PhD successes, Jenny Love (UCL) and Dan Quiggin (LU).
As the review of the year illustrated, their successes were built on a platform of Centre activity which in 2013/14 included, 35 conference papers and 13 academic journal articles – two of which have been cited in national standards and influential policy documents. Public engagement at festivals, through Blogs and by teaching in Schools, continued, and this year secondments into key organisations, CPD training and articles in professional journals have started to exercise our students.
Held in Orwell’s former Ministry of Information, aka the Senate House of the University of London, and midst iconic ’30s decor, the conference was a mix of posters and presentations, 10 by final year PhD students and six about recently-published work. These illustrated the diversity of research methods, building types and technical, social and political problems addressed by the Centres students.
– Can we decarbonise energy through electrification with thermal storage?
– How do people really ventilate their homes, and why do they do it that way?
– Can we identify inherently inefficient buildings whilst they are occupied?
– What can pseudo- random binary tracer gas sequences tell us about ventilation?
– By looking over there, what might energy policy makers over here learn?
The 20 posters on display gave all students a chance for closer conversation with our Stakeholders. Keeping this session to time proved difficult but necessary, to give time for an excellent closing presentation from David Adams (of Willmott Dixon). He deftly illustrated how lateral thinking can be brought to bear (on all sorts of questions, including ones energy use in buildings) by getting volunteers to push a bean can up hill with a rope. He extoled the value of youthful ideas and enthusiasm matched with the time to see them through, but reminded our students about the need to follow the evidence and not to prejudge outcomes.
The Colloquium reminded us of the tremendous following we have from stakeholders at all levels, DECC, the institutions, major companies, SMEs, and many others The first five years of the Centre has generated the momentum, and the renewal of our funding enables us to build on this.
by KJ Lomas and R Lowe