Select Committee on Science and Technology Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by INREB Faraday Partnership


  INREB Faraday Partnership was launched in November 2001 to create a UK focus for research and demonstration, technology transfer and training in the integration of new and renewable energy in buildings. It harnesses the expertise of the leading UK Research Organisation in building technology and the four leading academic research groups, to work with industry and government in exploiting the business opportunities afforded by such integration. This also creates environmental benefits by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from buildings. The "core" Partners are:

    —  Building Research Establishment (BRE).

    —  The Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University.

    —  The Building Services Engineering Group, Loughborough University.

    —  The Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST), Loughborough University.

    —  School of the Built Environment, University of Nottingham.

    —  The Centre of Sustainable Technologies, University of Ulster.


  The Partnership's aim is to accelerate the growth of new and renewable products from UK companies by focusing effort at the most commercially important areas, through dissemination of results and by leveraging European knowledge and funds.

  INREB seeks to strengthen UK industry by:

    —  bringing together the leading industrial organisations, businesses, and academic groups concerned with the integration of new and renewable energy sources into the built environment;

    —  proactively establishing a programme of activities that will ensure the ready definition of industry needs, their translation into academic research, and subsequent exploitation by industry;

    —  generating a programme of collaborative research, initially centred upon four leading Universities;

    —  transferring the knowledge gained from research to all stakeholders in the industry; and

    —  creating an integrated platform of modular training opportunities targeted at the needs of businesses and organisations, and providing a flow of knowledge and people into industry.


  The Partnership provides a national hub for the many businesses and stakeholders concerned, and enables a common approach to ensure the successful integration of new and renewable energy technologies into buildings. INREB works with all groups involved in the construction industry from key decision makers to consultants to contractors. Partnership activities are aligned with the building process and are organised under the following themes:

    —  Planning & Legislation—investigating existing national, regional and local policies to identify those that encourage increased uptake of renewable energy and those that represent barriers.

    —  Building Fabric—developing hybrid building envelope systems in which the functional needs of buildings in specific climate and use contexts are met by the optimised deployment of renewable technologies.

    —  Energy Systems—increasing the impact that new and renewable technologies make on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, by adopting a more sophisticated approach towards their integration into a building's environmental and services systems.

    —  Construction & Infrastructure—identifying the impediments to energy exports, the implication of embedded generation on the operation of the electricity grid and the use of energy storage systems.

  Within these themes, the INREB programme embraces three main areas of work:

Research & Demonstration

    —  INREB Collaborative Projects—strategic and innovative R&D projects, developed through partnerships between industry and academia.

    —  INREB Industry Projects—R&D projects designed to meet the needs of specific industries, organisations and government bodies.

Technology Transfer

    —  The INREB Technology Transfer Programme has been developed to help industry, organisations and government overcome the barriers, and accelerate and exploit the business opportunities afforded by new and renewable energy. Activities include company visits, setting up of industry clubs, meetings and consultation events.

Knowledge Transfer

    —  Comprising four areas of activity, the INREB Knowledge Transfer Programme offers training, education and skills development to built environment professional in the area of new and renewable energy in buildings:

    —  Awareness Raising—including conferences, seminars, publications and demonstrator initiatives.

    —  Strategic Briefing—for key decision makers.

    —  Professional Knowledge Transfer—including, Continual Professional Development training, industry specific short courses, Master level courses, PhD Studentships, and people movement through industry.

    —  Vocational Training.


  It is widely accepted that renewable energy sources are the key to a sustainable energy supply system since they are both inexhaustible and non-polluting. The main relevant technologies are PV, solar thermal (including water, air and passive solar) and biomass based heaters and generators. These are complemented by a range of new technologies which include energy storage (in various forms for both electricity and heat) and fuel cells, building integrated wind technologies plus some more developed equipment such as (ground source and air to air) heat pumps, together with combined heat and power (chp) including the exciting recent variants of micro-chp and mini turbine generators. In addition there are new technologies specific to the built environment, for example stack-effect ventilation and ventilated facades.

  The challenge faced by the INREB Partnership is to remove the barriers to successful uptake of the technologies and to integrate them into built structures so as to gain the maximum technical and economic advantage.


  Renewable Energy has become a major issue in recent years:

    —  in economic terms, the EU estimates a 17 billion ECU annual export business in renewable energy technology by 2010, and World Energy Council projections indicate cumulative investment in renewables as 500 billion ECU in 2010. Scenario analyses by Shell show renewables meeting some 40% of world energy needs by 2050;

    —  in employment terms, the number of jobs created in the EU through renewable energy technology is predicted as 300,000 direct jobs and a further 200,000 indirect jobs by 2005. There are 810 companies, mostly SMEs listed in the Guide to UK Renewable Energy Companies;

    —  in environmental terms, there is increasing awareness of the perils of global warming, and the finite nature of the world's fossil fuels;

    —  in legislative terms, ambitious targets have been set following the Kyoto agreement for the reduction of greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions by 2010—energy use in buildings currently accounts for 45% of UK emissions; and

    —  in government terms, the Foresight Energy and Natural Environment Panel identifies generation from renewables, the barriers to their application, and the reduction of emissions as key areas for research and development. The Government's commitment to assisting industry in the efficient generation and use of renewables is reflected in a wide range of funding initiatives including the EPSRC RNET programme, and more recently the announcement by the Prime Minister (October 2000) of the creation of a Sustainable Development Commission, a Kyoto Mechanisms Office (to assist export of low carbon technologies), and the Carbon Trust (to channel £50 million into low carbon technology).


  The generation and efficient use of renewable energy is not an issue that falls naturally into the traditional structures of business. It is an inter-disciplinary activity that requires action and co-operation between society, industry, academia, and the economy. Furthermore, it is necessary for business to understand the principle that significant competitive advantage can be gained through adopting the appropriate and efficient use of renewable energy as part of strategic planning. There is currently an awareness problem. INREB Faraday Partnership bridges the lack of understanding in and between the diverse and fragmented industries and organisations involved in the use of new and renewable energy in buildings and channel to the industry academic advances.

  Much needs to be done within the many individual topics embraced by renewable energy in buildings. For industry to take full advantage of the commercial opportunities, it is critical that the component technologies are integrated together—such that energy generation and efficiency forms an integral and early part of the design process.

  This will ensure:

    —  reduced construction costs leading to enlarged markets with mass device manufacture, further reducing costs and increasing commercial viability and opportunity;

    —  integration of renewable energy devices within the fabric of a building reduces construction cost compared to later retrofit; and

    —  improved integration in building design to meet local authority requirements and aspirations.


  INREB's Industrial Partners are drawn from all the stakeholders involved in new and renewable energy in buildings. These range from building designers and developers, through to energy equipment suppliers and the construction industry itself. INREB also includes the policy makers, the local authorities, the utilities, and the general public—without the involvement of these, the Partnership would not be able to effectively achieve technology transfer into the whole system. This diversity of Partners means there are no "key" individual companies associated with the Faraday—it is inclusive and embraces the whole industry.

  The Partnership, through events, meetings, consultation activities and collaborative research projects has successfully formed links with key stakeholders both in the UK and Europe during it's first year of operation. Some examples include Professional Institutes (ie RIBA, CIBSE, RTPI, InstE); Trade Associations (ie PV-UK, Solar Trade Association, Heat Pump Association); Manufacturers and Suppliers (ie Solar Century, XCO2) Consultancies (ie ESD, Dulas); Local Authorities (ie Three Rivers District Council, Norwich City Council) and other bodies such as Energy Saving Trust and Carbon Trust.


  The new and renewable energy in buildings sector offers exciting opportunities, both industrially and academically. The sector is however diverse in the range of stakeholders involved, the barriers to take-up, and the academic disciplines that contribute to the sector. This fragmentation is matched by the many initiatives, public and private, in the energy sector as a whole. The INREB Faraday Partnership through bringing together the needs of the industry and four world-class University groups therefore adds value through:

    —  the provision of a focussed activity that achieves critical mass in all aspects of new and renewable energy for buildings and will have the multi-institution, multi-discipline ability to provide holistic optimal solutions rather than simply optimising components or subsystems;

    —  the achievement of excellence through increased interaction between all stakeholders that leads to robust exchanges of views—a combined "finger on the pulse"—generating both relevance and focus in research and training; and

    —  the combined resource of the Partnership in terms of expertise, facilities, networks, training opportunities, and demonstrator sites that will bring cost-effectiveness and timeliness.

18 November 2002

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2003
Prepared 11 April 2003