BRE Institute of Sustainable Engineering
The vision of the BRE Institute in Sustainable Engineering is to pave the way to a new generation of digital buildings that have lifelong resilience and adaptability to their environment, usage and occupancy, enabled by (a) smart materials and products, (b) integrated design and manufacturing systems, and (c) total lifecycle approaches.
The following research challenges underpin our vision and approach:
- How do we confer optimum resilience, sustainability, and continual fitness for purpose on our existing building stock?
- How do we deliver new or refurbished human-centric buildings that address lifetime requirements and that are capable of performing optimally within the constraints of unknown future scenarios?
The central and foundational principle in answer to these two challenges is adaptability and resilience.
In essence, Buildings should have the ability to be context-aware, i.e. factor in environmental and occupancy (user needs, behaviour and lifestyle patterns) aspects, and thus be adaptive to change. There is a need to re-think the concept of a building and move from traditional ‘low value’ components towards extended IT-aware materials and products embedding various forms of ‘intelligence’.
The complementary expertise of our academic staff and researchers spans six main research themes:
- Smart materials and products: Research in this theme involves material and structural performance enhancement to different combinations of solicitations and the development of novel materials with embedded resilience.
- Virtual Manufacturing and supply chain management: Research in this theme explores design and manufacturing business models that promote sustainable and total lifecycle integrated product development approaches.
- Building intelligence: Research in this the theme involves the design and deployment of digital technologies to support stakeholders’ activities and knowledge needs across the lifecycle of a building project.
- Building resilience: Research in this theme explores how risk management and built environmental protection can be integrated into design and construction sustainability principles and approaches.
- Energy and sustainability: this theme is concerned with management of energy in buildings with a view of delivering lifelong sustainable facilities.
- Comfort, health and well-being: the exploration of comfort conditions of occupants and socio-technical aspects that underpin user interaction with buildings and building systems via digital interfaces forms the focus of this theme.
The concept of a dynamic and self-updatable digital conceptualization of a building, that fully exploits latest advances in ICT, including pervasive sensing technologies, is central to the centre’s vision. These digital technologies will help maintain a dynamic representation of a building necessary to provide real-time building performance (including energetic) accounts, while ensuring the building has lifelong adaptability to its usage and environment.
The Cardiff School of Engineering is recognised as being one of the top engineering research centres in the UK. In the RAE 2008, Cardiff School of Engineering consolidated its position as one of the top 10 research led engineering schools in the UK. Civil Engineering was ranked in the top 3 amongst UK peers for the second successive assessment, while Mechanical Engineering entered the top 10.
Postgraduate (Research) Admissions Tutor:
Dr P. J. Cleall