I started my doctoral research project back in April 2017, while working at SPECIFIC, based on the work I had been involved with so far to develop the Active Building concept. My main aim at this time was to develop a piece of work that linked up my architectural experience with the experience I had gained since working at SPECIFIC and the knowledge I had built up on renewable energy technologies and their integration into buildings.
As I progress my doctorate, undertaking literature reviews and identifying challenges and barriers to the adoption of the Active Building concept, and to implementing changes of any kind within the construction industry, I have continued to engage with construction industry stakeholders. I do this through delivering workshops and CPD seminars; hosting innovation visits to Active Building demonstration projects; contributing to journal articles; and presenting at conferences and other events, where I share knowledge on Active Buildings and how they could help meet the UK Government mission to at least halve the energy use of all new buildings by 2030.
Other important activities I take part in include collecting evidence from demonstration buildings I have either designed or influenced the design of and providing project support to partners developing Active Building projects of their own, both of which will help mitigate some of the challenges. Data collection is essential to build up an evidence base that can be used to support the transformation of the construction industry to meet the goals set out in Construction 2025.
But it has become clear to me that if we are to successfully enable the industry to adopt the Active Building concept, we need to provide some sort of guidance – guidance which sets out the core principles of an Active Building and suggested ways to achieve these principles.
What we need is an Active Building Design Guide!
This is now the focus for my doctorate project – to develop an Active Building Design Guide, which will provide specific guidance to assist the design of Active Buildings, while also providing a means of assessing projects against Active Building criteria.
Probably the most challenging aspect of my research project so far has been the need to hone my academic writing skills, writing papers for presentation at International academic conferences, such as Sustainable Energy in Buildings. I am lucky to have the support of an excellent supervisor at Cardiff Metropolitan University, @Dr_JrLittlewood, who assists me with this, as well as support from Swansea University, who are funding my Doctorate.