Environmental modelling

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Andy Brown
01223 460475

Excellent design is based on good science as well as a feeling for appearance and a sense of place. CAR has developed scientific models showing how individual buildings or groups of buildings affect - and are affected by - the environment. They are used by developers, designers and policy makers to inform their decisions.

Cambridge Housing Model
This model was developed by Cambridge Architectural Research for DECC (now BEIS) to underpin the Housing Energy Fact File and Energy Consumption in the UK, and to inform housing policy decisions. It was published to encourage scrutiny of the model, and in line with Government policies on transparency. The model is still being developed, and we welcome feedback and comments about it. The model uses English Housing Survey data, coupled to a SAP-based energy calculator, to estimate energy use and CO2 emissions for all homes in England, broken down by final use. The Model and User Guide are available on Hightail.

Embodied energy
The sustainability of a building over its lifetime depends not only on its energy consumption in use - and hence CO2 output - but also the embodied energy in its construction it contains. This is the energy consumed in the production of the building materials and components, the process of construction itself, and the renewal of various elements during its life. Our knowledge of embodied energy and durability for various building elements from many countries throughout the world enables us, for example, to identify best practice, advise on minimising a building's CO2 footprint, and calculate energy trade-offs over its lifetime. This includes our current study of bamboo composite materials.

Wind environment simulation
CAR has extensive experience of modelling wind effects around buildings using Computational Fluid Dynamics. These studies feed into models of the internal and external environment – for example natural ventilation studies – and support planning submissions. Statistical models for the annual distribution of wind speed and direction enable us to predict the number of times the wind in specific locations will exceed acceptable limits.

Daylight and sunlight analysis
CAR offers analysis of daylight and sunlight, both within buildings and for the urban spaces that surround them. We have applied image processing techniques to digital elevation models of the urban tissue in order to study daylight and sunlight availability in the urban environment.

Environmental Impact Assessment
Using the same tools that support good design, CAR can prepare impact assessments for planning applications covering daylight, the wind environment, sustainability and renewable energy.

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