CobBauge Construction Cuts Carbon

Researchers have begun the construction of a new building on the University of Plymouth campus – made from the centuries-old material of cob.

The facility is part of a multi-million pound, cross-Channel project that is investigating whether cob can become a sustainable solution for a new generation of energy-efficient housing.

The single-storey building will act as a classroom and research laboratory as the project team will monitor the performance of its materials, as well as demonstrating it to future house designers and builders.

The construction is the latest phase of the award-winning CobBauge project being led by the University with partners in England and France, funded by Interreg VA France (Channel) England and co-funded by the ERDF to a total of €4,127,365.09.

<p>CobBauge&nbsp;

CobBauge Project - Cob houses – made from a mixing of earth and natural fibres with water.<br>Led by Professor Steve Goodhew, a traditional building method is being repurposed through an international research project with a view to constructing a new generation of energy efficient homes.

<br></p>
<p>CobBauge Project - Cob houses – made from a mixing of earth and natural fibres with water.<br>Led by Professor Steve Goodhew, a traditional building method is being repurposed through an international research project with a view to constructing a new generation of energy efficient homes.<br></p>
<p>CobBauge Project - Cob houses – made from a mixing of earth and natural fibres with water.<br>Led by Professor Steve Goodhew, a traditional building method is being repurposed through an international research project with a view to constructing a new generation of energy efficient homes.<br></p>

Principal Investigator Steve Goodhew, Professor of Environmental Building, in the School of Art, Design and Architecture, said: 

“This is the start of an exciting new applied research phase for CobBauge, where we have an opportunity to put into practice the exciting findings from the laboratory. We will create a living lab and demonstration site that will become the centre of attention for a wide range of people – from construction professionals to architecture students.”

The first phase developed a new method of using cob that would comply with thermal regulations on both sides of the Channel. Through an intensive laboratory process, the researchers studied a range of different soil and fibre mixes and created a unique double layered wall that combines a denser mix with a lighter weight version of the material, for a combination of strength and insulation.

Researchers have moved on to the second phase, investigating the performance of the new building, using a range of high-spec sensors to measure energy use and analysing its life cycle and indoor air quality.

“The location for the CobBauge building effectively creates a sustainability research ‘quarter’ on our campus,” said Professor Will Blake, Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute. “Students and visitors to the site will be able to engage with this potentially industry-influencing ongoing research project, right next door to our green-walled Sustainability Hub, which as a living lab is itself at the forefront of the Low Carbon Devon programme. It exemplifies the University’s commitment to an ultra-low carbon future.”

Future Plymouth 2030

Following the success of season 1, Future Plymouth has returned to help catalyse the collaborative action the City must take to achieve low carbon, sustainable development.

The fortnightly webinars provide a platform for knowledge exchange between a community of academics, professionals, students and individuals sharing the common purpose of creating greener cities.

Series two features academics from across University and includes topics such as future energy, transport, local environment and flooding, nature based solutions and climate change education.

The initiative is led by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in partnership with Stride Treglown Architects, the Sustainable Earth Institute Low Carbon Devon project and Plymouth City Council.