Dr Richard Watkins discusses the European heatwave on Euronews

Dr Richard Watkins, member of CASE Research Centre, was recently interviewed live on Euronews to discuss the European heatwave, and to understand what is being done to control the temperatures in cities, and prospective future proposals.

Dr Watkins explains that the main approaches to cooling cities are to reflect away the sun’s energy, to absorb it and use it to evaporate water and to provide shading to improve outdoor and indoor comfort. Richard pointed out that the high temperatures, approaching 40°C, globally are not unusual and where it is this hot architecture has evolved to protect people. In the temperate and northern temperate regions we are not used to these very high temperatures and this presents a challenge. Watch the full interview below, courtesy of Euronews.

Dr Richard Watkins conducts air flow experiment at Canterbury Cathedral

Dr Richard Watkins, lecturer and senior tutor in Sustainable Architecture at Kent School of Architecture has developed a system using helium-filled balloons to track air flow around the Nave of Canterbury Cathedral. Our MSc Architecture and the Sustainable Environment students Sam Leatt, Sukanya Ravi and Yikun Shang, along with Dr Giridharan Renganathan from Kent School of Architecture were in participation at the experiment which took place on Thursday evening.

For more information, please click here which will take you to the brilliant article on Canterbury Cathedral’s news page.

The video below by Canterbury Cathedral documents the experiment in action!

Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou and Dr Richard Watkins to give the GreenBRIDGE seminar in Cambridge

Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou, KSA Director of Research, and Dr Richard Watkins from CASE (Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment) will give the GreenBRIDGE seminar at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge, on Tuesday 12th May.

GreenBRIDGE is a society of graduate researchers at the University of Cambridge with an interest in the sustainability of the built environment.

Their seminar is entitled “Low energy buildings – reality vs. expectation.  It is going to discuss the results of the building performance evaluation of a recently completed TSB-funded project, the Jarman School of Arts, recipient of a RIBA-2010 award.

Further details can be found here or visit the GreenBRIDGE website.

Dr Richard Watkins wins the Napier Shaw Bronze Medal for research excellence

Dr Richard Watkins is a co-author of the prize-winning paper “The natural ventilation performance of buildings under alternative future weather projections” published in “Building Services Engineering Research and Technology” (BSERT), the journal of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers. The paper won the Napier Shaw Bronze Medal which is awarded annually for the most highly rated research published in BSERT in 2013.

Most buildings in the UK depend on natural ventilation for controlling their internal environment, but in a warming world this may become increasingly problematic. Will buildings designed for natural ventilation now, still provide comfortable conditions in 2050, or 2080? The work looked at assessing the likely future wind speeds based on future projections published by the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP). However, the data published by UKCIP did not include wind speed, but did include other parameters, notably the Potential Evaporation (PET), from which it was possible to algorithmically deduce the wind speed. This process of generating wind speed data from PET and other factors was carried out on thousands of years of UKCIP’s CP09 synthetic weather data and tested for reliability against other similar projections that did include wind speed data.

The results showed that significant overheating was likely in future weather conditions, for a variety of emissions scenarios, but also that there was much uncertainty in our fundamental ability to predict future wind speed. Wind speed is also very important in predicting the impact on urban climates of heat islands: in still conditions they can add several degrees to the air temperature; in windy conditions they have almost no impact.

A summary of the paper is available here (page-41) and the full paper, for a limited time from Sage publishing. The research published in the paper was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through the funding for the COPSE project (Coincident Probabilistic Climate Change Weather Data for a Sustainable Built Environment).