Interreg research – Insulation and wall tiles

Interreg research project

Sustainable Bio & Waste Resources for Construction

INTERREG VA France (Channel) England EU Funded Research Project

Working for the University of Brighton School of Architecture & Design

In partnership with Nomadeis, Veolia, University of Bath, ESITC Caen, Construction 21, UniLaSalle, ASBP, Community 21

Plus specialist suppliers Local Works Studio & ARVEA Consultants

BBC Press


In his capacity as Senior Lecturer at the School of Architecture & Design, Duncan Baker-Brown is acting as Principal Investigator for an EU Funded research project which is charged with uncovering locally-sourced waste material that can be re-used or recycled into insulation batts for the housing sector.

Working with social design agency Community 21, the University of Brighton (UoB), and colleague Dr. Ryan Woodard from the School of Environment & Technology, the research team initially undertook a Resource Mapping exercise employing Community 21’s G.I.S. mapping technology to locate potential urban and rural waste material flows. Experts from Veolia advised the team that duvets in Brighton & Hove were never re-used or recycled, and instead were all incinerated. The team therefore decided to use waste duvets collected from graduating University of Brighton students as insulation for housing.

Local Works Studio constructed an insulation prototype for the University of Brighton team and installed it into one of the wall cavities in The Brighton Waste House on the Grand Parade campus of the University of Brighton. The duvet insulation is currently being monitored so that we can see how effective it is as wall insulation.

Ben Bosence from Local Works Studio also encouraged the team to design new external wall tiles to protect the duvet insulation prototype from the weather. We located a rather unusual waste flow less than 1 mile from the Waste House pilot site.  English’s Oyster Restaurant throw away over 50,000 oyster shells per year, and worldwide over 7 million tonnes of mollusc shells are thrown away annually.

Bosence fired some of the shells to make quick lime and crushed up the others for aggregate to add to the concrete-like mix. As you can see from the photographs the results were spectacular! Bosence also added other construction waste flows into the mix (such as masonry from U+I’s Preston Barracks development), which resulted in a variety of finished colours for the tiles. A sample panel of oyster shell tiles was installed on the outside of the Waste House, allowing the team to test it for robustness.

Our partners from the University of Bath are testing another insulation prototype, made from straw, and Uni LaSalle from Rouen are constructing a prototype made from agri-waste from local maize crops.

For more information check out:

www.construction21.org/community/pg/groups/33864/

https://research.brighton.ac.uk/en/persons/duncan-baker-brown

Closing the loop