Stars of Building Science named
Thirteen names make up the 2013 Virtual Academy of Excellence
Report from – Jo Smit
Here are the Stars of Building Science. After weeks of nominations, a bit of fierce lobbying in some quarters and a last minute influx of email votes from all corners of the globe, we can announce the names that have gained admission to our virtual academy of excellence.
The final list below includes world-renowned experts and those who have made a big impact in a relatively brief space of time. It includes academics and industry players, from the UK and overseas. Each one has been nominated by you and elected by your vote, with those gaining the highest number of gaining listed here.
We organised this poll simply to recognise the achievements of all those who are promoting the very best in building science to improve the quality, sustainability and resilience of the built environment, and ultimately to make people’s lives better. We have been – almost literally – overwhelmed by the response to our call for nominations and votes. To that end, every individual who made it onto our longlist could be called a ‘winner’, as all have won recognition and the praise of their peers.
Not all of the 28 nominees for the Stars of Building Science could make it into the virtual academy. But the reader interest in this inaugural poll has persuaded us that the Stars of Building Science should not be a one-off. We will continue to build our virtual academy of excellence with an annual poll. So if you didn’t make it onto the list this time, this is not the end of your journey to stardom. There will be another chance to enter the academy next year.
Congratulations to this year's stars. Building4change will be featuring more on their work and achievements over the coming year.
The members of the 2013 Stars of Building Science Virtual Academy of Excellence are:
Bill Bordass was a champion of post occupancy evaluation (POE) long before the term became part of today’s built environment lexicon. He worked on a string of building performance studies as a member of the Probe research project, which was backed by the UK government and CIBSE and ran from 1995 to 2002. He co-authored the Usable Buildings Trust’s Soft Landings Framework, which eases a building’s transition to use and helps to tackle common problems identified by POE. Today he applies his expert knowledge in the technical and energy performance of buildings to aid understanding of what works and what doesn’t.
John Doggart (pictured top) has pioneered green building design in the UK, and is today best known as chairman of the Sustainable Energy Academy (SEA), the charity dedicated to reducing carbon emissions from buildings the force behind the Old Home Superhome retrofit campaign. Doggart is a co-founder of the Existing Homes Alliance (EHA) and continues to innovate to green the built environment. Most recently he worked on WHISCERS – Whole House In Situ Carbon and Energy Reduction Solution – an internal insulation system which can be installed while residents remain in-situ.
The name of Wolfgang Feist is synonymous with Passivhaus, the energy performance standard that Feist co-originated in the early 1990s. The German physicist and structural engineer first put Passivhaus principles – which combine excellent thermal performance and airtightness with mechanical ventilation – to the test in a housing project in Darmstadt in 1991. Five years later the Passivhaus Institute was founded in the same location. Feist continues to head the institute and travels the world lecturing to those eager to learn about Passivhaus.
Rajat Gupta was praised by one voter as “an inspiring and passionate lecturer.” The professor of sustainable architecture and climate change, and director of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development at Oxford Brookes University, was instrumental in developing the world’s first global common carbon metric (CCM) for the United Nations Environment Programme’s Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative. That CCM protocol has been applied worldwide and is being developed into an ISO standard.
Low energy design expert Doug King has many buildings to his credit, including Massachusetts’ Genzyme Centre. He is now a consultant at large, combining a diverse international project portfolio with roles including Royal Academy of Engineering visiting professor of building physics at Bath University. King’s approach is made clear by his disparaging description of green technology as ‘eco-bling’, a term that he originated. He is now working to establish a series of university centres in the UK to offer education in integrated sustainable building design.
In the US and beyond Vivian Loftness (pictured middle) is recognised as a leading figure in green building research. An architect by training and an academic by profession, Loftness has spent more than three decades working in the specialisms of environmental design and sustainability, advanced building systems integration, climate and regionalism in architecture, and design for performance in the workplace of the future. Based at Carnegie Mellon University, she contributed to the development of the university’s Robert L Preger Intelligent Workplace.
The science of integrated analysis for sustainable buildings and cities is Don McLean’s (pictured bottom) business and his passion. He has led Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES), the company he founded, for nearly 20 years, growing both a successful business and a research base. McLean’s background is in environmental engineering, but he now brings his knowledge and experience in the use and development of building simulation software to the challenges facing both our buildings and our cities.
How to improve the UK’s significant stock of Victorian homes is one area of research studied by the architect and environmental designer Sofie Pelsmakers. She has taught sustainability and environmental design and led a masters programme at the University of East London, as well as working as a doctoral researcher in building energy demand reduction at UCL’s Energy Institute. Pelsmakers is also author of the Environmental design pocketbook, published by the RIBA, and co-founder of not-for-profit organisation Architecture for Change.
Christoph Reinhart leads the Sustainable Design Lab, a research group in the department of architecture at the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The building scientist and architectural educator works in the field of sustainable building design and environmental modelling.
Peter Rumsey is chief technology officer at US-based Integral Group, specialising in the design of low and zero energy buildings. He pioneered the use of chilled beams in laboratories and radiant cooling in office buildings, and has championed zero energy commercial development. Rumsey has been working in engineering and energy consulting since the mid-1980s and is a frequent lecturer, as well as a senior fellow of the Rocky Mountain Institute.
Stephen Selkowitz has led the building technologies department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in the USA for 35 years. As an internationally recognised expert in window technologies, façade systems and daylighting, he collaborates with research and development teams worldwide. Recipient of a lifetime achievement award from LBNL, his award nomination described him as the Steve Jobs of energy-efficient buildings, who has "changed how we design, build, and inhabit buildings the world over".
Peter Walker is perhaps best known for his work on Bale Haus, a prototype house at the University of Bath which was constructed using the ModCell panel system incorporating straw bale. Low carbon and traditional materials are a key area of interest for Walker, who is head of the university’s department of architecture and civil engineering and director of its BRE Centre for Innovative construction materials.
Runming Yao is professor of building and urban sustainability at the University of Reading, and her research centres on energy and environment, with a particular focus on the UK and China. Author and co-author of a range of papers and books, including the Chinese National Standard of Indoor Environmental Assessment, her accreditations include guest professor and PhD supervisor of Chongqing University, China, and president of the UK Chinese Association of Resource and Environment.