Last week was a great opportunity to see different approaches to building research here in the UK and in Germany.
At Insite 11 at the BRE on 'Rethink Refurbishment' we participated in the Technology Strategy Board Low Carbon Retrofit workshop; nine brief contributions on different aspects of the 'Retrofit for the Future' projects, ours on using natural and breathable materials, all fascinating, and raising lots of questions.
The Innovation Zone featured some good ideas - it'd be good to hear more about the cellulose based aerogel insulation, if it gets taken up by a manufacturer. We hope so.
On Friday Ecological Building Systems organised 'Challenges and Solutions to Thermally Upgrading Existing Masonry Walls with Internal Insulation' Among other great talks, Dr Rudolph Plagge from The Institute of Building Climatology at Dresden University of Technology spoke in detail about the science behind working with existing buildings in a sympathetic way. He showed examples like the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, where upgrading the building thermally and conserving the exquisite brickwork was undertaken so thoughtfully, with research backup so that the Museum could be really confident of the effect of insulation on moisture travelling through walls, frost action, mould growth, and improved thermal performance. Several of us present at the workshop felt that there is a real need to develop further links with this research institution.