In July 2012, Loughborough University was not only host to the Olympics 2012 GB Team Preparation Camp, but also to the 1st International Conference on Research and Education of Energy Efficiency in Buildings. LoLo students Joynal Abedin, Richard Jack (with poster presentation) and Nafsika Drosou attended the latter whose main focus was the instruction of built environment sustainability issues, in UK and Indian Higher Education institutes.
The topic was addressed from various aspects, all of which successfully contributed to the fusion of knowledge and the sharing of lessons learned from separate efforts made in each country the past decade. Interestingly, touching on the distinctive challenges each country’s building and education sectors are faced with due to different climatic, social, cultural and economic circumstances, highlighted the importance of collaboration in achieving a common goal; that of incorporating sustainability in the knowledge and ethos of tomorrow’s building professionals in order to minimise man’s indiscriminating impact on the planet.
Architect Ashok B. Lall introduced the Indian context, by contrasting the current to the potential role architects play and pointing to the need for sustainable practices to be introduced even at the undergraduate level of architectural training in India. Professor Rajan Rawal of CEPT (Center for Environmental Planning and Technology) University described the Indian reality where about 70% of India’s 2030 buildings have yet to be built, design involves not one but 5 different climate zones, and almost no engineering college offers dedicated HVAC nor lighting courses, while less than 3% of architecture schools have PhD professors teaching environmental science courses. Sustainability Specialist Mr. Aalok Deshmukh elaborated on policy relevant to building efficiency by way of describing the outcomes of the USAID Energy Conservation and Commercialization (ECO) Bilateral Project Agreement, while IIIT-H (International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad) University Professor Vishal Garg openly shared the challenges faced by his department in establishing postgraduate and research courses on energy efficient buildings, as well as means of overcoming them.
Student representatives of Professor Simos Yannas from the AA (Architectural Association) School of Architecture began portraying the UK efforts by describing the aims and contribution of the school’s postgraduate programmes. Dr. Sergio Altomonte of Nottingham University widened the scope by discussing state of the art architectural education and practice by means of EDUCATE (Environmental Design in University Curricula and Architectural Training in Europe). Professors Malcolm Cook, Dennis Loveday with Dr Monjur Mourshed of Loughborough University presented the structure and development of the university’s graduate and doctoral programmes, the CALEBRE project as an example of multidisciplinary research in the field of carbon reduction in buildings and the application of research on the city of Dhaka in Bangladesh respectively. Lastly, Dr Dave Holtum of the Research Council UK (RCUK) broke down the UK’s research funding system, revealed current priorities, one of which is to further support Doctoral Training and Industrial Doctorate Centres in the area of End Use Energy Demand (EUED) with 52% of these particular awards allocated to Building research.
With climate change phenomena becoming more intense and catastrophic each year it will be very interesting to observe the development and direction the International Conference on Research and Education of Energy Efficiency in Buildings will take in the next few years. Undoubtedly collaboration, sharing of knowledge and dissemination of best practice are instrumental in overcoming global problems such as this.
Article written by Nafsika Drosou, LoLo MRes Student
Thanks go out to Keyur Vadodaria for sharing the conference photos