Theme Summary: Built environment

Website support document:  

Theme: Building Design 

Topic: How can improved building design help us to a zero-carbon economy? (Estimated time 60min) 

Activity: Great for a GCSE revision question especially for students with interest in design and engineering. 

Design engineer Florence Collier describes how she designs her building for low carbon footprints. There is a lot of detail and some good introduction to the concept of Passivhaus and heat pumps. 

The interviews: 

How does she make her homes more energy efficient (2.32) 

Her favourite building designs (3.48) 

importance of ventilation (3.41) 

Latent heat application (3.35) 

Suitability of materials for insulation (1.43) 

Incorporating renewables into her design (3.16) 

why heat capacity is so important (2.10 

The questions cover heat pumps, insulation, specific heat capacity and latent heat and much more. 

Scorecard /46 


Topic: What is the Urban Heat Island and what can we do about it? (Estimated time 15min) 

Activity: Good GCSE activity for work on infra-red radiation, specific heat capacity and latent heat. 

Researcher Dr Charlotte Brown discusses how the albedo of a city can be changed so that it does not become an Urban Heat Island. The slides introduce the idea of positive feedback which can cause the temperature of the surroundings to rise. Calculations include using specific heat capacity to measure the amount of thermal energy stored in a house and latent heat to calculate the cooling effect of trees. 

Videos: Urban heat island and what causes them (3.21) 

Steps we take to cool urban spaces (1.40) 

Scorecard/ 24