A unique place to study: Inspirational practicals for postgraduate students


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CAT offers a combination of academic study with practical experience and this year’s REBE students were on-site last week to study their current module: Buildings.

The MSc Renewable Energy and the Built Environment (REBE) is one of the four postgraduate degrees taught at CAT. As part of the Building module’s practicals, students used the on-site self build house at CAT to measure air-tightness.

Checking the air-tightness of a building is key to assessing it’s sustainability. The results of these tests will show how much temperature and therefore energy is wasted through air loss. This practical demonstrated the essentials to understanding these important factors when surveying new builds and existing structures.

The practical was overseen by Stuart Labrum, a senior lecturer, and John Williamson. Prior to his role at CAT, Stuart had for several years worked independently for a number of international companies as a Design and Manufacturing Consultant, while John is a visiting lecturer in Passivhaus. John is also Director of JPW, a multi-disciplinary Consultancy/Architectural practice and construction company so both are ideally suited to teaching the module. Stuart and John demonstrated the ideal conditions for a reliable test and both showed the students how to spot cracks in insulation using industry-standard thermal cameras. The lecturers also highlighted the importance of compromising air-tightness with air quality while discussing how to reach regulated levels of air quality for new builds.

As well as providing the students with an aspirational environment to study in, CAT’s postgraduate courses offer a flexible structure for students to complete their study. Full-time students studying postgraduate courses at CAT stay on-site for a week of every month. Because each module is taught over two months, one week per month, this allows students to continue working or to undertake other projects whilst completing their studies. You can find out more information and apply for next years intake here.