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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/J002380/1
Title: The development of an early stage thermal model to protect against uncertainty and morbidity in buildings under predicted climate change
Principal Investigator: Eames, Dr M
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Gale and Snowden Architects
Department: Engineering Computer Science and Maths
Organisation: University of Exeter
Scheme: Career Acceleration Fellowship
Starts: 01 September 2011 Ends: 31 August 2016 Value (£): 506,058
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Building Ops & Management Urban & Land Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction Environment
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
21 Jun 2011 Fellowships 2011 Interviews - Panel D PES Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The Government is committed to a reduction in carbon emissions of 80 % by 2050. Some sectors such as air travel and shipping will struggle to meet this target, while other sectors such as the built environment will have to move to a position of carbon neutrality at least which currently contribute just under half of the UK's carbon emissions. To address this problem the government have developed a mechanism to reach the overall target with new domestic properties and schools becoming zero carbon by 2016, all other new public sector buildings by 2018 and all other buildings by 2019.

It is clear that a warming climate will increase the overheating risk in the built environment where traditionally this would lead to increased air conditioning use and add to energy consumption. Predicted summertime temperature increases can be expected to lead to higher mortality rates among vulnerable groups in poorly adapted buildings; increasing the burden on the emergency services.

This fellowship aims to create an early stage design tool to reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality within buildings as the climate warms. The proposed tool will use the most recent climate predictions, a proven thermal model of a building and new models of human thermo-regulation among those most susceptible to heat stress.

The research will be carried out over four phases. Firstly, the maximum level of input tolerated by the end user, in this case architects, will be captured. The maximum number of key strokes tolerated and the complexity of the technical concepts are most likely to be limiting factors. The second phase will involve the production of a simple dynamic thermal model which will predict the internal environment for a range of constructions, weather patterns and climates. The third phase will develop a new human thermo-regulatory model which can be incorporated into a thermal model of a building with time varying internal environments. The fourth phase will extend the model to areas where building regulations do not traditionally require thermal modelling and climate change will have the greatest impact.

Traditional thermal models usually require an accurate description of the building's geometry and construction which is not generally available until the latter stages of development. Such models are generally used to demonstrate compliance with building regulations only. Hence there is a need to produce a tool which is able to consider both the mitigation and adaptation agenda and most importantly heat stress in humans at an early stage in the design process.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Organisation Website: http://www.ex.ac.uk