Oriel Prizeman

MA Cantab AA dipl Ph.D Cantab RIBA SCA

Room with a window in traditional UK building

Correlating maintenance, energy efficiency and fuel poverty for traditional buildings in the UK

A scoping study funded by Cadw, Historic Environment Scotland and Historic England

The study seeks pathways to demonstrate that better maintenance of traditional buildings could reduce energy costs in the context of climate change. The project was funded by three government agencies; Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland and Cadw. The new British Standard for conservation has already triggered recognition of the correlation of dampness to energy efficiency, here we aimed to address further means to link building condition to building performance.

The depiction of traditional buildings as poorly-performing in terms of energy use incentivises retrofits. It has already been established that baseline scenarios require revision based on in situ measures of thermal performance (BRE, 2015). Other research highlights the risks to historic built fabric that emerge from ill-conceived measures (Fouseki and Cassar, 2014). Both methods used for summarising the physical thermal performance of traditional built fabric as well as presumptions of occupant use and behaviour can risk leading to prejudicial conclusions and erroneous decisions. The goal here is to seek the means to develop more informed approaches to the assessment of energy performance in existing buildings.

A pdf copy of the study is available here.

Mapping layers of history, use and meaning for sustainable planning and conservation:

3D scan of street in Ajmer

Our incipient network is devoted to developing more inclusive, informed and sustainable planning decisions for public spaces in historic Indian cities.

This initial project is carrying out a pilot study in the walled city of Ajmer and nearby Pushkar, Rajasthan. These are thriving centres of pilgrimage for different faiths, attracting thousands of devotees at festival times. A rapid growth in tourist numbers has exacerbated the stress on infrastructure. The research focuses on the role of the beliefs and associations, ritual processes, and behavioural patterns of devotees and visiting pilgrims, in order to establish these as crucial factors in the design and conservation of public spaces with religious significance.

To this end, we are trying to create prototypes of digital tools to contain images and information about the city, its history and heritage and to allow reflection, exchange and dialogue among different groups. The interactive models will be put online to be supplemented and critiqued. Findings from the study will be fed to the relevant authorities.


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