13 Mar Essex Architect secures Government Funding for New Sustainable Build Material
Essex based Clear Architects is currently the only architectural practice to secure Innovate UK funding in the Construction Sector, as it develops a commercially viable building material from ‘throw-away’ consumer products.
The entrepreneurial, female-led practice has entered a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with The University of Wolverhampton as it spearheads the development of a unique building material constructed from consumer waste products that currently end up in landfill.
Clear Architects applied for the KTP, securing £116k of funding, to explore the design and manufacture of innovative SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels), which it hopes will contribute to reshaping the future of construction, helping to embed greater sustainability practices in the sector.
Melanie Clear, Founder & Director Clear Architects says:
“This ambitious project with the University of Wolverhampton furthers our work on sustainable materials, an area the whole practice is extremely passionate about.
“Reducing landfill and finding a creative use for our consumer waste products is important for all industries. I believe we in the construction industry can and should be doing more to provide solutions that really ‘move the needle’ on building a sustainable future.
“It is especially gratifying to know that even a small practice such as Clear Architects can make a real contribution, applying both our design creativity and our commercial experience, in an attempt to be part of the solution for a more sustainable built environment. Personally, I am incredibly proud to be driving research into quantifiable product development in the construction sector.”
A Knowledge Transfer Partnership brings together entrepreneurial businesses who understand the commercial reality and application of innovative sector-specific products, with academics who specialise in sustainability and manufacturing. This three-way project also offers ambitious graduates the opportunity to work with an organisation and a leading university on cutting-edge research and development (R&D) projects.
The KTP is a 2-year contract with a Mechanical Engineer who will project-manage the KTP programme, including materials development & testing, prototyping, supply chain management, investment planning and the manufacture of innovative panels aiming to contain up to 50% waste materials.
The project goal is – within two years – to construct a prototype building demonstrating the new, recycled and high-performance SIPs panel. This would indicate that the new material could be scaled as a sustainable, commercially viable product for widespread adoption by the construction industry.