CobBauge Project.
Monitoring thermal performance

Construction has begun on the first-ever building in the country to be made from an upgraded version of the material cob

Operating as both a classroom and laboratory, the CobBauge project is being led by the University of Plymouth with partners across the UK, Ireland and France.

With researchers monitoring the performance of the new walling material, the University of Plymouth will demonstrate it to future building designers, contractors, housing associations and interested stakeholders.

The researchers began studying a range of different soil and fibre mixes, creating a unique double-layered composite wall that combines a denser mix with a lighter weight version of the material, for a combination of strength and insulation.

Having established that the method met the required standards – as well as securing the planning permission ­– construction of the 32 sq m CobBauge project building, located next door to the University’s Sustainability Hub will begin this month.

Estimated to take around eight months to complete, the work is being carried out by Paul Barclay and Chris Noakes (Eco-Construction) and the university’s estates team.

Promptly moving onto its second phase, the project will now focus on investigating the performance of the new building, using a range of sensors to measure energy use, and analyse its life cycle and indoor air quality.

Phase two of the project has been funded by Interreg V France (Channel) England, co-funded by the ERDF to a total of €4,127,365.09.

‘The centre of attention for a wide range of people’

Principal investigator Steve Goodhew, Professor of Environmental Building, in the School of Art, Design and Architecture, stated: “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 built environment students.”

Professor Will Blake, director of the Sustainable Earth Institute, commented: “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.”

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