Left to right are Hayfa Barakat, John Clephan and Dr. Chengzhi Peng at Sheffield Housing Company’s Norfolk Park development.

Member Article

Climate change study in Sheffield

A doctorate research project to determine the impact of climate change on the type of homes being built today is being carried out in Sheffield.

The three year study is being run by Sheffield University in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield Housing Company (SHC), one of the largest housing developers in the city.

A PhD student, Hayfa Barakat, will work on the Future Climate and Change in Liveability of a City’s Housing Environment initiative. This is part of the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership’s Economic and Science Research Council Collaborative Awards.

Her work, which begins in September, could identify ways in which the design, construction, flexibility and facilities in our homes could be changed to reduce the carbon footprint and encourage greener living.

Under the guidance of Dr Chengzhi Peng, Senior Lecturer at Sheffield University’s School of Architecture and Professor Edward Ferrari, from the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University, she will model the likely temperature and humidity changes and then assess the impact this could have on the internal living environment of homes to see whether a comfortable environment would be maintained.

The research could challenge some current approaches such as the airtightness and insulation of modern homes. Whilst this reduces energy usage and the carbon footprint today, in 50 years’ time these homes could be uncomfortably hot, causing people to use fans or fit air-conditioning - increasing carbon usage and bills.

John Clephan, Project Director with SHC, will also be part of the supervisory team. He said: “The homes we live in are a key factor in our quality of life. If a home stands for 150 years or more, it will be a big part of the lives of many generations. Working with Sheffield’s universities, this is a great opportunity to learn more about how adaptable our homes can be to environmental changes in the future.

“Providing support for research into one of the most important issues of our time could help leave a valuable legacy well beyond the homes we build. This project could influence the way we design, build and live in homes for generations to come.”

SHC is Sheffield City Council’s joint venture development company, established with private sector construction partner Keepmoat Homes and Great Places Housing Group. Its goal is to improve the quality and choice of housing across the city, while creating jobs, encouraging investment and supporting the communities in which it works.

Dr. Peng added: “In order to bid for the funding for this research project we had to have an industry partner and SHC very kindly agreed to fulfil this role. Together we will examine the impact the housing stock has on the ecology and environment of Sheffield and look to see whether there are ways of reducing the detrimental effects.”

Before successfully applying to carry out the research as part of her PhD studies, Hayfa Barakat gained a BSc (Hons) in Architecture Design and Technology and an MSc in Project Management in Construction at the University of Salford.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Paul Dobbie .

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