University team puts energy into reducing carbon usage

The University of Wolverhampton, part of the West Midlands Combined Universities, has secured £1.2 million in additional funding to help small businesses develop low carbon products which can be used by the Built Environment and Construction sector.

The Built Environment Climate Change Innovations (BECCI) project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and works with small and medium businesses across the Black Country and the Marches region to develop innovative climate change solutions within the built environment. Its broad coverage is on products associated with both new and existing housing as well as commercial and public buildings.

The BECCI team provides free support in the development of products and services that reduce carbon usage, explores new or improved energy efficient products, works with inventors to showcase new products available and offers access to the latest information and knowledge on low carbon technologies.

To date the BECCI project has helped over 100 businesses and has engaged with six of the largest housing associations within the West Midlands area. The project has just partnered with Midlands housing provider whg to deliver an Energy Reduction Challenge.  The team presented energy reduction saving recommendations to the business after reviewing one of their work premises, Beechwood House in Willenhall, with the aim of cutting their energy bills by 50%.

Paul Hampton, Director of the BECCI project and Head of Built Environment at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “The University is delighted to support the team on the whg energy challenge. This is just one example of how we are utilising funding to cut carbon emissions in line with the government’s commitment to reduce the carbon footprint by 80% over the next thirty years.”

Glenn Barrowman, Project Manager on the BECCI project said: “We attempt to create real life opportunities for our placement students, for example within the whg Energy Challenge the BECCI team utilised a PhD graduate, Ana Karina, in architecture to do an analysis on current building performance, this real life experience will be hugely valuable to her alongside her academic studies.”

Steven Davis, Facilities Manager and Environmental Manager for whg, said: “Beechwood House is over 40 years old now and is rated G for energy efficiency – basically it is in the relegation zone. As a business we are committed to saving energy and cutting our carbon footprint so we were delighted to work with the University of Wolverhampton on this project.”

In the last three years the BECCI team has completed other low carbon built environment and climate change environmental challenges for Staffordshire and Rural Homes, Accord Housing and Severn Trent Water.