School of the Built Environment

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Recent funding successes for carbon-counting research in OISD

October 2007

Dr Rajat Gupta
Dr Rajat Gupta
Dr Rajat Gupta
Smita Chandiwala

Over the last few months Dr Rajat Gupta, a senior lecturer in the Department of Architecture and Co-Director of the OISD: Architecture Group, has been awarded a series of research grants and contracts in the area of carbon-counting and carbon-reduction from buildings and cities. Dr Gupta is the developer of the award-winning GIS-based model called DECoRuM®, which has become a toolkit for carbon emission reduction planning in cities (see: Smita Chandiwala, researcher in carbon-counting, will also be working on these exciting new projects.

Dr Gupta has been awarded a 6-month research contract worth £30,000 by the second largest registered social landlord in the UK, Homegroup to develop the first comprehensive ‘toolkit’ for the recently-launched Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) that underpins the UK government’s target of building zero carbon homes by 2016. The overall aim of the project is to develop a user-friendly toolkit for Homegroup to help them in assessing the carbon impact and financial viability of achieving levels 4, 5, and 6 of CSH for a representative sample of new-build homes. The CSH toolkit will utilise the energy modelling principles of DECoRuM, and could have major application within the housing sector, given the growing impetus on building low/zero carbon homes.

On another project, Dr Gupta will be working with TEN Life style Management Group and National Energy Services to support the development of a holistic green concierge service. This initiative involves further developing the DECoRuM model to measure, model, map, benchmark, reduce and manage carbon emissions from 7000 homes in London. The project is expected to run for three years, with a funding of about £150,000.

Following on from the success of a UK-India symposium on ‘Greening cities’ held in February 2007 (Delhi), British Council has awarded Dr Gupta, funding of £16,800 (for travel and related expenses of UK speakers) to organise and chair, a follow-up UK-India Young Scientists conference on ‘Towards sustainable energy technologies and low carbon buildings’ to be held in Delhi in February 2008. The local partner for this conference is the reputed Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi.

Since September 2007, research has also begun on a 3.5 year EPSRC Case project which aims to assess the potential of ground source heat pumps in reducing energy-related carbon emissions from UK housing, in a changing climate. The project, which is worth about £85,000 is led by Dr Gupta, in collaboration with an Industrial partner, Ice Energy, well-known installers of heat pumps. There is a PhD studentship attached to the project, which has been awarded to Robert Irving.

The principles of measuring urban carbon emissions would be applied in another recently-confirmed project funded by UrbanBuzz (a UCL-UEL initiative), which aims to develop a creative workshop-style training programme for UK local planning authorities on securing sustainable design standards. Dr Gupta, who has been awarded £5,500 is part of a team of Academic Fellows which also includes other OISD experts. He is responsible for providing expert advice on the urban carbon emissions impact of selected live planning applications.

It is hoped that these range of projects would further expand and strengthen the carbon-counting research capability in OISD.



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