Making it real - engaging students in building performance research at the Mac

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book


This paper describes a case study of student engagement in Building Performance Evaluation research through live participation in ?The Glasgow House? project. For many students, issues of performance can seem to be very remote from the early stage design and conceptual development and immediate demands of reviews and assessment. Whilst some key programmes, for example the Stage 3 environmental project address performance issues through a carefully crafted design brief, an understanding of issues of comfort and performance is difficult to address without direct experience. Between 2011 and 2013 an opportunity was developed to address this by the engagement of students in research being undertaken by the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit. MEARU is a research unit at the Mac formed primarily of staff engaged in the delivery of environmental design and construction, both through taught courses and studio engagement, and provides the knowledge base on energy and environmental performance for studio programmes. MEARU had been commissioned by Glasgow Housing Association to undertake evaluation of a prototype low energy house, two versions of which were constructed on the City Building skills academy. In this project, undergraduate students were recruited as ?test occupants? and lived in the houses for two-week periods in these houses, allowing them to engage, both in the experience of the buildings themselves, but also the research activity used in the project. Over 50 students lived in the houses at some point. As well as informing their design projects, there are also examples where students have gone on to use data from the project in their own research projects, but at Diploma and masters level.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAAE Conference 2014
Subtitle of host publicationLiving and Learning
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014
EventAAE Conference 2014 - Sheffield, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Sep 20145 Sep 2014


ConferenceAAE Conference 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • building performance evaluation
  • energy
  • housing


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