Congratulations go to the team of lecturers at the Department who have been awarded the 2008 Happold Brilliant Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Building Physics in the context of a Low Carbon Economy. On behalf of the Department, Allan McRobie and Randall Thomas collected the prize of a beautiful crystal column with hand engraving, along with a cheque for £1,000, at The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) President's Award Dinner last month. The money will be used to support and reward student work and interest in the subject.
Buildings contribute almost half of the UK's carbon emissions, and Building Physics has thus risen rapidly up the political agenda in the past few years. The award recognises the work of many people in the Department who, in close collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Architecture, have been working to raise the profile of this increasingly important subject. Along with Allan and Randall, the team includes Mauro Overend, Ruchi Choudhary and Chris Morley at the Department and Michael Ramage, Torwong Chenvidyakarn, Ben Foo, Alan Short and Koen Steemers at the Department of Architecture.
Much of the teaching innovation has been stimulated by the arrival of Randall as the Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in Building Engineering Physics. One of Randall's suggestions is that final year engineering and architecture students should work together on this subject, and this has been taken up by the 4D13 Architectural Engineering course. Around 100 students from the two Departments work together in multidisciplinary groups on a low carbon building design project. This year the students have been challenged to design a solar powered house for entry into the European Solar Decathlon. A student-led Cambridge team has entered the competition, which will involve building such a house and transporting it to Madrid for the competition in 2010.
The Happold Brilliant award, instituted in 1996, was the late Ted Happold's idea. He believed deeply in promoting the excellence of teaching building services engineering, and the contribution that a quality education can bring to the work, values and ideas of the engineers of the future. The Happold Trust is a charity set up to promote education, training and research in the construction industry fields of engineering, design, technology and architecture. Ted Happold was founding partner of multi-disciplinary consulting engineers Buro Happold, and was responsible for establishing environmental and building services engineering within the practice.