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Research centre to develop efficient HVAC

A new research centre combining the HVAC expertise of the universities of Warwick, Ulster, London South Bank and Loughborough has been created to develop cost-effective and energy-efficient heating and cooling technologies.

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Storage, Transformation and Upgrading of Thermal Energy, or i-STUTE, has been funded by £5.25 million from the UK Research Councils Energy Programme, earmarked to help the UK achieve its target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

i-STUTE said it will bring together cutting-edge engineering advances with economic, behavioural and policy expertise to produce solutions that are ‘both technically excellent but also appealing to business, end-users, manufacturers and installers’.

Researchers at i-STUTE aim to reduce energy consumption across a wide range of heating and cooling technology,  including domestic heating, retail and commercial energy use, thermal energy storage, industrial heat pumps and thermal transformers.

Professor Bob Critoph, director of i-STUTE, said: “The technologies we use to heat and cool the buildings we live and work in will have to change if we are to meet our environmental targets.”

“This is not simply a major engineering challenge, a great deal of work also needs to be done to make sure this technology is not only accessible and appealing but will be readily adopted by households and businesses.”

The centre’s partnerships with a wide range of companies and institutions involved in cooling and heating will build on existing dissemination networks to ensure efficient sharing of research findings.

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