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Digital Tool Set to Revolutionise Design of Future-Proof Buildings

17 October 2023

3 minutes to read

Digital Tool Set to Revolutionise Design of Future-Proof Buildings

The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and University of Exeter (UoE) are working together on an ambitious project to ensure future buildings are energy efficient and well-adapted to future impacts of climate change.

The project will improve and upgrade the weather datasets that are used to inform building regulations, helping CIBSE ensure that these are in line with the latest climate change predictions (UKCP18).

As the UK’s chief authority on building services engineering, CIBSE needs access to the most robust, sophisticated data to inform their understanding of how changing climates will affect buildings and infrastructure across the UK.

To achieve this, the company has been working in collaboration with UoE on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), funded by Innovate UK, which sets out to improve existing weather data by drawing on the expertise of a joint team between CIBSE and UoE, including Technical Director of CIBSE Dr Anastasia Mylona, Chief Technical Officer of CIBSE Dr Hywel Davies, Dr Matt Eames and Professor Peter Challenor from UoE, and KTP Associate Dr Hailun Xie.

We expect the new weather datasets to significantly improve the way we assess building performance and climate related risks

Dr Anastasia Mylona, Technical Director, CIBSE

Dr Hailun Xie

Since the project began last year, Dr Hailun Xie has created new weather datasets which incorporate the latest climate science, encapsulate more extreme weather conditions, as well as enable better representations of the UK climate. In addition, the creation of granular climate zones across the UK also allows for a more detailed breakdown of the differences between regions that, despite their geographical proximity, can face distinct weather patterns, such as urban microclimate in London.

Dr Hailun Xie, the KTP Associate, said: “To enable future-proof building design, industry professionals need to know how to select the right weather data and be confident that what they select fully represents the latest UK climate projections. These principles should also be embedded in building regulations to eliminate ambiguities regarding the use of weather data for regulatory compliance. Our work aims to help them do that with a much greater level of detail and accuracy than was previously possible.”

In addition to improving the detail of weather datasets, the project is using machine learning, statistical analysis, and digital technology to enhance the accessibility and quality of CIBSE’s climate services.

When complete, the project will give regulators much richer insights into how future weather changes will affect building performance, empowering them to make the most informed decisions and future-proof new developments.

At that point, the team plans to develop an innovative digital tool for industry professionals – capable of generating high-resolution weather datasets tailored to specific locations, design applications, and timelines – that will be a game changer for the industry and for the business, allowing CIBSE to expand its commercial offerings while maintaining its position as a sector-leading institution.

Dr Anastasia Mylona, Technical Director, CIBSE: “This has been an ambitious project in the making over the past few years, in collaboration with UoE. We are looking forward to releasing the new weather datasets to the industry to be used in future proofing buildings and their services. We expect their use to significantly improve the way we assess building performance and climate related risks”.


More Information

The University of Exeter is a world-leading research institution, home to over 3,000 academics who are working to deliver a green, healthy, and socially just future. Each year, we partner with over 2,000 organisations so that our research and education can make a positive difference to communities locally, nationally and globally.

Our award-winning Knowledge Transfer Partnerships team give organisations the opportunity to access new expertise, develop new products and services, and unlock industry-leading solutions – all at a reduced cost.

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CIBSE is the standard setter and authority on building services engineering. It publishes Guidance and Codes which are internationally recognised as authoritative and sets the criteria for best practice in the profession.

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Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is the UK’s innovation agency. It works to create a better future by inspiring, involving and investing in businesses developing life-changing innovations. Its mission is to help companies to grow through their development and commercialisation of new products, processes and services, supported by an outstanding innovation ecosystem that is agile, inclusive and easy to navigate.

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