Ivan McKee, The Scottish Trade Minister, has announced funding for two new climate projects. The projects will demonstrate businesses, academic and public sector collaboration in transitioning the country to a low carbon economy and will be spearheaded by the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow in collaboration with Schneider Electric.
Following the Scottish Government’s £500,000 climate emergency collaboration project investment, the two largest universities in the country have been tasked with improving existing and future building’s performance with Schneider Electric’s smart building technologies.
The University of Edinburgh’s project, titled ‘Building capacity for zero and low carbon innovation in construction and the built environment’ – will aim to improve the way buildings of the future are designed and built to reduce the impact on the climate. It also wishes to demonstrate that a 25% energy reduction in peak demand can be achieved by advanced analytics of building performance.
Project partners will work together to improve the way buildings are designed and constructed in the future to minimise their impact on the climate. They will also develop and test tools that reduce emissions by improving the energy performance of buildings once they become occupied.
“The severity of the threat posed by climate change and the urgency with which responses are needed cannot be overstated,” says Dave Gorman, Director for Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh.
“As one of the biggest global emitters of carbon, emissions from construction and the built environment must be significantly reduced if we are to reach net zero emissions in Scotland by 2045. The public sector has an important role to play in leading this transition and this is the challenge that we and our partners will address through this ambitious project, by developing innovative solutions and fostering effective and sustained partnership working”.
The announcement was made in Glasgow at a tenement property in the city where a high-tech, green retrofit will be evaluated to understand how to reduce carbon emissions from existing housing stock. Project leaders predict there is the potential for energy savings of between 75% and 90%. The University of Edinburgh project aims to increase capacity for zero and low carbon innovation in construction and the built environment.
“We are delighted to be part of this project that will help define the future of smart buildings in Scotland,” adds David Evans, Schneider Electric’s Education Segment Lead. “We have two priorities: first, we will look at how buildings technologies can be applied to new build projects to minimize the carbon burden of estate expansion; and secondly, we need to look at how technology can reduce carbon emissions from existing buildings.”
Speaking at a launch event, McKee said: “We are facing a global climate emergency and one of the major challenges is not only how we build in the future but reducing carbon emissions from existing housing stock. As these projects demonstrate, innovation plays a key part in this and will help us reach our ambitious, world-leading target to reach net-zero by 2045. We continue to engage with public bodies, businesses, communities and individuals at every opportunity to address the challenge we all face.”
Professor Kenneth Gibb, Director of the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence and the academic lead for the University of Glasgow project concluded: “We are delighted to make a potentially big contribution to addressing the climate emergency in Scotland through SFC funding for this important project.
“Older housing is a key source of the carbon challenge, especially our pre-1919 tenements. This demonstration project allows us to both learn about this particular form of retrofit and to assess how to scale up and provide replicable solutions across the range of Glasgow tenements.”