Heat is essential to life. It is continuously gained and lost by buildings, industry and people. Our understanding of it lies at the heart of tackling climate change, conserving energy, personal comfort and machines, yet it is unseen and uncelebrated.
The heating of buildings is responsible for close to 60% of UK carbon emissions with most waste coming from existing buildings. Radical and rapid approaches are needed to transform buildings so that they conserve heat yet there is an absence of creative practitioners, designers and free thinkers proposing solutions. The response is slow and risk averse. Innovation is required to develop new solutions. Can we reduce heat loss to zero in a single day? Can we engineer behaviour instead of engineering buildings? Which new materials need to be developed to change this?
This series of workshops explore through creative problem solving how and what are the best methods and materials to reduce our homes and buildings releasing heat and so wasting energy.
Firstly looking at London using a thermal heat camera – a device that forms an image using infrared radiation. Using this technology will reveal how different buildings are losing heat in varying degrees. The camera reveals a hidden world of flowing heat passing through the city like ghosts of wasted energy, something unseen but essential. This simple idea of visualising how London loses heat will pose lots of complex problems from building to building for the workshop participants to consider. This will result in a series of intriguing photographs and video.
The second workshop will see young participants build on the knowledge from exploring the waste of energy of London, testing thermal properties of various materials from clay to aerogel, sheeps wool to celutex and discussing how different materials and applications enable a building to retain more heat. In the third workshop they will 'build' their own house insulating it in the best methods they see fit.
Students will work in teams and compete to make the most energy efficient building. Each team will be given a flat pack of a specially designed miniature London townhouse, a selection of insulation material, along with some dud materials to catch them out, and a 100W bulb to hang in the middle of the house. The bulb will produce the heat that the teams need to keep locked into their homes.
The final homes will be tested for the best approach. We expect unusual designs and approaches to be explored and participants to gain a greater understanding about the role of heat around them.
If you would like to arrange a series of HEAT workshops for your school or young people's group, please contact Claudia Lastra
HEAT is part of the KiiCs project which is supported by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme