Students present energy-saving research in international competition in China


Staff and students from the School of Architecture, Built and Natural Environments are travelling to Wuhan in China to take part in the Eleventh National University Student Social Practice and Science Contest on Energy Saving & Emission Reduction.


The team consists of PhD student Simon Thomas, and graduates Poppy Reynolds, and Ashley Wood both of whom obtained 1st Class Honours degrees from the School of Architecture, Built, and Natural Environment in July 2018. They are the only international entry to present their research, which combines the graduate disciplines of architectural technology, building surveying, and environmental chemistry with a commitment for sustainable development for future generations.

Professor Rhian Jenkins is the Head of the School of Architecture, Built, and Natural Environment. She said: "With the increasing demand for housing and development worldwide, it has never been more important to consider the environmental impacts of resource use. The School has always integrated environmental management into its construction portfolio and the visit to China offers the students an excellent opportunity to view other renewable energy and emission reduction projects ".

The aim of their research is to assess the environmental impact of manufactured topsoil, focusing particularly on climate change contribution and carbon emissions from the manufacturing process. Initial results show that it is feasible to produce manufactured topsoil with a good level of application compared to natural topsoil. The research also considers the additional carbon foot printing resulting from the process. 

China is developing rapidly and construction waste is consequences of rapid development and finding an economical and environmental alternative to landfilling construction waste is desirable. Subsoils from construction site excavations are commonly transported to landfill sites, costing millions of pounds, and adding substantial burden to the environment. Diversion of this waste for use elsewhere is key for future sustainability. Where this waste material is recycled, it is mainly developed as filling material for road pavements. However, producing manufactured topsoil artificially from this waste provides an opportunity to replace a scarce and sought after product (natural topsoil) and furthermore, it increases economic value of the end product: up-cycling. This process can reduce landfill usage and carbon emissions, and it can form the basis for both a local and circular economy.

The School of Architecture, Built, and Natural Environments is part of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Faculty of Architecture, Computing, and Engineering, a multidisciplinary, STEM-based faculty based in Swansea that covers architecture, automotive, motorcycle and motorsport engineering, construction, computing, electronics, environmental management, logistics, mechanical and manufacturing engineering.

Staff members: Professor Rhian Jenkins; Dr Keerthi Ransinghe

Students: Simon Thomas; Poppy Reynolds and Ashley Wood

All from the School of Architecture, Built & Natural Environments

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