BSRIA LSBU Net Zero Building Centre

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The Net Zero Building Centre is a joint enterprise created by LSBU and BSRIA. This new initiative creates a Centre of Excellence and Innovation Hub building on the strengths of both BSRIA and LSBU in the area of low carbon buildings.

The Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) is a non‐profit, member‐based organisation with global outreach, promoting knowledge and providing specialist services for construction and building services stakeholders. BSRIA's mission is to make buildings better by enhancing their environmental, operational, and occupational values, and to support the industry by sharing knowledge, offering guidance and providing solutions.

London South Bank University (LSBU) has internationally renowned expertise in the built environment, drawing on decades of academic and applied research experience in Energy, Civil and Building Services Engineering, Modelling, and on LSBU’s positive and entrenched professional reputation in the construction and property industry.

The BSRIA LSBU Net Zero Building Centre draws on its partners' backgrounds and expertise to focus efforts on addressing the urgent issue of mitigating the impact of the built environment on climate change. Most of the world is signed up to the Paris Climate agreement, aiming to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre‐industrial levels. To achieve this, we must create a Net Zero carbon economy by 2050.

The built environment has a crucial role to play in achieving this transition, and the Net Zero Building Centre aims to accelerate a critical decade of action on decarbonisation. This includes catalysing the mass uptake of solutions already at our disposal and creating world leading innovation to find the breakthroughs needed to meet our remaining challenges.

Within this scope of research enquiry, the Net Zero Building Centre focuses on the following areas:

Decarbonisation of Heating and Cooling

The UK’s carbon footprint can attribute a high proportion of its emissions to the heating and cooling of buildings. Decarbonising the heating and cooling of building stock will be an essential aspect of our success in meeting 2050 climate mitigation goals. Alternative low- and no-carbon energy sources can provide thermal comfort through leaner and more efficient solutions. By maximising the utility of existing technology and creating innovative solutions to the challenges inherent to creating a net zero built environment, the Net Zero Building Centre drives the exploration and use of low-carbon solutions like heat networks, heat pumps, or green hydrogen, but also the potential of energy recovery and storage as well as innovative electrical building design. These paths of research encapsulate the future decarbonised built environment.

Smart building Performance

To successfully deliver a net zero carbon economy, we must improve building design and performance in use. Increasingly, this will depend on smart technologies and digitisation to optimise building performance which will reduce energy and carbon emissions without compromising health and wellbeing. The Net Zero Building Centre advocates for increased technological innovation in the built environment. Areas of interest include: offsite construction methods, smart manufacturing processes, performance data for compliance, verification and improvement, data driven facilities management and maintenance.

Indoor Environmental Quality

People spend most of their time indoors; this is particularly true for older people and young children, as well as for working adults. Our buildings fulfil countless different functions, but what they have in common is the need for good indoor environmental quality. The Net Zero Building Centre seeks to advance knowledge around indoor air quality and expose links between technical characteristics of air tightness, ventilation, acoustics, vibration and health outcomes, comfort, wellbeing and productivity of building occupants. Startlingly, research indicates that indoor air quality is often worse than outside air quality. People who live closer to busy roads face alarming levels of air pollution which contributes to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, heart failure, lung cancer and dementia. Meanwhile, research around Covid‐19 transmission further demonstrates the importance of good ventilation in buildings. People’s wellbeing, productivity and general quality of life are highly corelated to the quality of the environment in which they spend their time. For these reasons, the Net Zero Building Centre is dedicated to advancing quality of life through improvements to indoor environmental quality.

Policy Implementation

The world’s nations have laudable climate goals, but current policy will not enable us to deliver these goals. The UK has shown repeatedly that even when policy goals are on track, failures of implementation disrupt the confidence of both suppliers and consumers in the built environment market. As we go through this decisive decade for climate action, we require not only effective and ambitious policy design, but equally successful implementation. Great ideas must translate to positive action. The Net Zero Building Centre works to produce impactful, applied research that ushers in positive change at scale. The challenges posed by the decarbonization of the built environment require seamless interaction between policy and research. The Centre collaborates with local government to further heat policy; retrofitting existing stock; improve compliance, link building performance to policy; education and changing practice.

Our Partnerships

The Net Zero Building Centre is a joint venture between BSRIA and LSBU benefitting from their shared expertise and extensive networks across the built environment industries.

We have several strong research collaborations and partnerships as well as established links with government and professional bodies.

The Net Zero Building Centre works closely with other LSBU research centres including CIBSE and IDOBE.

 The centre’s members provide strong links with the various subject areas professional bodies including:

  • The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineering
  • Energy Institute
  • The Institute of Refrigeration
  • The Institute of Acoustics
  • The Institution of Civil Engineers
  • The Institution of Structural Engineers

The centre also has reach portfolio of working with industrial partners in research and consultancy. These include:

  • ICAX Ltd.
  • Cambridge Energy

We are also actively engaged on projects with Lambeth, Southwark and Bridgend Councils.

Our achievements

 The Net Zero Building Centre members have delivered a broad range of successful projects including:

  • The Balanced Energy Network (BEN) innovative industry and academia collaborative research project shortlisted for the Engineer: Collaborate to Innovate Awards, 2018.

  • The Home Energy 4 Tomorrow (HE4T) project designing and testing a hybrid heat pump and looking at heat recovery from water utilities.

  • The Affordable Heat Networks Project in Bridgend County council which exploring how a dual source heat pump can offer cost reduction options for a Mine Water Heat Network.

  • The Net Zero Innovation Programme with Lambeth Council exploring the skills gaps and what the local supply chain needs to meet the demand of the climate emergency goal of creating a carbon neutral council by 2030.

Net Zero Building Centre

Contact our team to find out more about the BSRIA LSBU Net Zero Building Centre.