Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Visit to the Building Research Establishment

Wednesday 7 March 2012

As a follow-up to their visit to the Olympic Park and London Docklands in February, the second year undergraduate students in Real Estate Management went on a visit to the Building Research Establishment (BRE) as part of their Integrative Project module. The aim of the Integrative Project Module is to give the students an opportunity to integrate the knowledge and experience gained over the first two years of the course by focusing attention on the potential development and investment opportunities created by the London 2012 Olympic Games. The module is designed to get students thinking and is supported by a number of guest lectures and seminars with lots of opportunities for discussion and for the practical application of research tools.

Why the visit to BRE?
One important aspect of the module is to give the students the opportunity to examine different aspects of the built environment and explore different approaches towards creating sustainable environments. The BRE Group has a history stretching back over 90 years, which has seen the bringing together of a number of separate research, testing and approvals organisations during that time. They provide a complete range of consultancy, testing, certification, commissioned research and training services covering all aspects of the built environment and associated industries.

At their main site in Watford, BRE also have an Innovation Park and it was this that the students went to investigate. The students were given a presentation about BRE's role at the forefront of sustainable homes research in the UK and were then given the opportunity to explore the test buildings on the Innovation Park. There are a wide variety of sustainable houses on site, but the only one on the market so far is the Cub House (the white cube) which is available as a one, three or five bedroom house. This modular home is made in England by FutureForm and can be manufactured offsite in 16 days, with 7 days onsite construction and installation. Check out the Cub website for more details. The other buildings are fully functional but not yet on the market - the high standard of furnishing suggests that these test buildings are being used to attract developers and investors. For more details of all the houses look at the BRE Innovation Park website.

Inside the Cub House - photo by George Haines, 2nd year student on BSc REM

Cub House Bath - photo by George Haines, 2nd year student on BSc REM

Cub House Kitchen - photo by George Haines, 2nd year BSc REM

The Prince's House - photo by George Haines, 2nd year BSc REM

BRE are also involved with the Passivhaus building competition in which designers were challenged to create a demonstration building that is both affordable and Passivhaus certified. The winning design will be built on the Innovation Park during 2012. Take a look at the results of the 2012 Passivhaus competition and find out what a Passivhaus is and how this type of housing can benefit the environment and residents.

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