Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Examination of the performance gap for one of UCL’s newly retrofitted buildings

By Vasiliki Kontopoulou, on 12 July 2015

I am an MSc Environmental Design and Engineering student at the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, University College of London, currently conducting my dissertation thesis in collaboration with UCL Estates and Green UCL. I will be giving updates on the Green UCL blog to share my research into one of UCL’S newly retrofitted buildings over the coming months. More specifically, I will be looking in depth at the gap between the predicted and actual energy performance of Cruciform hub using hygrothermal monitoring, occupant comfort surveys and dynamic building thermal modelling. Possible causes causing this discrepancy will be examined in detail.

1A brief history of the building

Cruciform Building is a Grade II listed building (Date of listing: 12/3/1974) located on Gower Street in central London, in the London Borough of Camden. It is situated inside the Bloomsbury Conservation Area and it was firstly designed as a hospital block by Alfred and Paul Waterhouse.

The building’s diagonal plan, with a single service core and radiating wings, provided light and ventilation for the wards.

Materials were selected for their durability; hard red brick and terracotta were more economic and less susceptible to erosion than stone.

In 2000, a refurbishment was undertaken through a Private Finance Initiative (PFI), converting it into the Wolfson Center for Biomedical Research and the pre-clinical training facility for UCL’s medical school.

On the 12th July 2012, as part of the UCL Masterplan, a new hub and project learning space for the students of medical school was proposed on the basement of the building. Quiet study areas, a computer cluster and group workspaces were designed aiming not to overpopulate the spaces, as this would inevitably lead to uncomfortable conditions.


Computer cluster


Group workspace







Source: Stage D of Cruciform Student Hub report (12th October 2012)

Typical energy use of the  whole building 





Data obtained from:  https://platform.carbonculture.net/places/cruciform-building/1180/

Display Energy Certificate / CO2 emissions


Data obtained from:  https://platform.carbonculture.net/places/cruciform-building/1180/

Methodology of the research


Next steps…

Collection of monitoring data

Conduction of questionnaire surveys

Simulation of the modelled building on IES VE to extract information regarding the predicted energy performance

Comparison with benchmarks

Analysis of preliminary results


Student: Vasiliki Kontopoulou

Supervisor: Anna Mavrogianni

In collaboration with:

UCL Estates: Joanna Marshall Cook

Green UCL: Alex Green


Reasons to cycle…

By Alex Green, on 24 March 2015

Our friends at Cycle Confident and Transport for London have produced this great infographic on reasons to cycle around London. And if you’d like to boost your confidence, learn to cycle more safely, or just learn new routes and get a free lunch, make sure to book your place on one of our guided cycle rides around London.


Hydrogen-powered mulled apple juice…

By Alex Green, on 9 December 2014

As part of the Christmas Switch Off, we teamed up with UCell, a group of PhD students pioneering the use of hydrogen as a fuel source.

Using their fuel cell to produce electricity from hydrogen, we powered a slow cooker to make spiced apple juice. See below for pics of the cell in action.

Help save energy over the winter break. Find out more and take part in the Christmas Switch Off.

2014_12_09 hydrogen powered mulled apple juice V1

Are you ready for the Christmas Switch Off?

By Alex Green, on 27 November 2014

We’re getting ready to launch the Christmas Switch Off, a UCL-wide campaign to save energy by switching off unnecessary lights, appliances and equipment over the holidays.

In the meantime, here’s an animated Jeremy Bentham switching off UCL…


New permanent bike pump and repair stand installed in Foster Court

By Alex Green, on 25 November 2014

You can now keep your bike in tip-top condition with the new permanent pump and repair stand (with tools) that’s been installed in Foster Court, just off Malet Place…

2014_11_20 new bike repair stand montage V1

We’re recruiting!

By Alex Green, on 21 November 2014

Want to join UCL’s Sustainability Team and help improve the sustainability of our business and projects?

Want to receive high quality training and support?

Want to work in an exciting environment with a diverse range of students, staff and academics?

Find out more and apply now (closing date November 30th 2014).

You can find out more about the work of the Sustainability Team here. And don’t forget to Like and follow to get more regular updates too!


Will your department take part in UCL Green Impact?

By Alex Green, on 6 November 2014

Green Impact, UCL’s annual sustainability programme is now live for the 2014-15 period, and all departments and divisions are encouraged to get involved.

Green Impact runs from October 2014 – June 2015. You can find out about the programme here, or just contact the Sustainability Team.

2014_10_30 Green Impact infographic for the Week@UCL V2 SM

Why’s there a number on my building?

By Alex Green, on 29 October 2014

Seen the big numbers around UCL’s campus?

As part of Degrees of Change, we’ve rated most of UCL’s buildings in terms of their energy consumption per m2, ranked from lowest to highest energy use. The numbers on UCL buildings correspond to their position on the energy league table.

We know that some buildings will always use more energy due to factors like research activities; but we think it’s a great way to start identifying where UCL’s impacts are made, and what we can all do to tackle them. Find out how your building compares.

2014_10_28 building rating numbers degrees of change V1

UCL’s Positive Impacts

By Alex Green, on 17 July 2014

We know that UCL has a lot of impacts; carbon emissions, energy use, the effect of our purchasing and the way we deal with waste.

But we also know that through research, volunteering, participation and public lectures, UCL creates a huge positive impact.

We’ve created this infographic to celebrate the effect that we all have on the local community, on London, and on the wider world.

Click on the infographic to see it full-size.


My work experience on the Sustainability Team: Tabitha’s report

By Alex Green, on 10 July 2014


travel infographicTabitha is studying for her GCSEs at a school in Westminster. She recently spent some of her week’s work experience with UCL’s Sustainability Team, finding out what they’re doing to improve the environmental impact of the university.


Photo caption: Tabitha (middle) with Sustainability Manager Stephanie Chesters and Director of Sustainability Richard Jackson.

As a student in my first year of GCSEs, I have becoming increasingly interested in Geography and Maths and the world around us. I chose to spend my Work Experience working with the UCL Sustainability Team to discover more about what being sustainable means to me and everyone else, including UCL.

During my time here I have discovered UCL to be a huge university, made up of people from across the world with very different experiences and backgrounds. As UCL is so large, the need for it to become more sustainable is ever increasing and is required in every aspect of the university.

“Through working together to make these small changes, we can help make the world more sustainable”

The size of UCL is constantly increasing, which despite its benefits comes with its challenges. UCL currently uses the equivalent energy of 11,000 homes and energy bills have reached an astronomical cost of £14million per year. This not only has an impact on the environment, but also on the university’s finances. Moreover, a huge amount of carbon is produced during the academic travel, which generates 160,000 tonnes of carbon per year. This is a big part of UCL’s contribution to global warming and rapid climate change.

Fortunately, the Sustainability Team are working to find and develop solutions to the problems that UCL face. Of the 3,672 tonnes of waste produced by UCL from 2012-2013, 69% of it was recycled and that number is continuing to rise through the new installation of recycling bins across campus (coming soon!). The team is also encouraging more students to take cycle safety training to advertise a more sustainable commute, which is why more bike racks more showers and safe cycle routes will be installed. The use of renewable energy has also increased and they’re exploring the possibilities of installing an energy efficient cooling loop around the university campus.

Energy infographics

From my time working with the Sustainability Team, I have learnt how we can do small things every day to help the environment and make it more sustainable. Simply by using recycling bins properly we can help reduce our carbon footprint and turning the plug off when our mobile phones have finished charging. Pestering our parents to mend a leaky tap could save money and thousands of litres of water a year. Through working together to make these small changes, we can help make the world more sustainable.