Low Carbon Built Environment

Project Aims

  • Reduce CO2 emissions associated with the built environment by bringing Welsh academics & industry together
  • Targeting the built environment sector at all scales, from component to building to region
  • Including all stages of the built environment process, from planning to design to construction to operation

The built environment includes new buildings, existing buildings and the infrastructure that supports them. About 50% of UK energy is used in buildings, with 27% in the domestic sector. Targets have been set to reduce energy demand and provide low carbon energy systems in the built environment, such as all new homes to be zero carbon by 2016 in the UK (2011 in Wales).

Energy demands from existing buildings also need to be minimised. Houses built before 1919 account for 5% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing emissions from older properties is therefore a priority.

Research Areas

  • Sustainable Building Envelopes: working with Tata to develop energy generating facades & construct the Sustainable Building Envelope Centre (SBEC) in North Wales
  • Lighting: Design and Implementation of Solid-State Energy Efficient Lighting Solutions, led by Swansea University, in collaboration with a Welsh SME, Enfis
  • Use of timber in building construction: using Welsh timber & working with BRE & Wood Knowledge Wales
  • Low carbon design solutions: combining energy demand reduction with innovative service solutions & renewables. Led by WSA, input from industry & social landlord organisations
  • Urban scale demand and supply: balancing energy demand reduction & renewable energy supply, led by WSA, working with Warm Wales
  • Monitoring the performance of low carbon technologies in domestic & non-domestic buildings in Wales: Led by WSA, with UWIC as academic partner
  • Innovation, technology deployment & market development

Case Study: LED There Be Light
LCBE’s Work Package 2 is researching LED technology, and working towards developing high efficiency lighting solutions. Lighting accounts for some 20% of world energy usage, however current lighting efficiencies are generally still low. LED technology is already four times better than incandescent... (read more)
Case Study: SBEC
LCBE's SBEC centre, based in Tata Steel’s Shotton works in North Wales, was unveiled in 2011. It was constructed with funding from the Welsh Government and Tata Steel to accelerate the development of low and zero carbon solutions for the built environment using steel in combination with other m... (read more)
Case Study: Welsh Timber Industry
The Low Carbon Built Environment (LCBE) project is part of the Low Carbon Research Institute. This research theme, based within the Welsh School of Architecture, has looked at the built environment sector, from planning through design and construction to operation, across a range of scales from comp... (read more)

Construction Work

LED image

SBEC Building

Contact Details

Key contact:

Rhian Williams
Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University

Web address: lcbe.cardiff.ac.uk

Low Carbon Built Environment staff