Funding of almost £13 million recently announced by the
Higher Education Authority for research at UCC has paved the way
for an environmental research institute at Ringaskiddy.
L- R: Ms Aveen Henry, Cleaner Production Promotion Unit; Dr Marcus
Keane, Mr Denis Kelliher and Professor Philip O'Kane, Civil and
Academic disciplines involved include environmental chemistry,
engineering, management, law, biology areas such as eco-toxicology
and biodiversity and coastal and marine research. The Institute
building itself will be part of the research.
In the new "green building" in Ringaskiddy, if the heating is left
on in an office for the weekend with the window open, the monitoring
system of the building will pinpoint where the loss of energy occurred.
The "green building" concept is part of the Department of Civil
and Environmental Engineering's work on two futuristic projects
" a green building" which will house the Environmental Research
Institute and the "blue city " whereby Cork city will become a blueprint
on how a city can make better use of its water resources.
Energy Waste Monitored
The "green building" will be designed and built so that its environmental
performance can be monitored, controlled and viewed using state-
of -the- art technology. The performance of the renewable energy
systems will tell office users in any part of the building whether
they are wasting energy in their sector or whether water is being
dribbled away unnecessarily.
The flow of materials to and from the building will be monitored
and in keeping with the goal of end-of-life recycling the behaviour
of the building structure itself and all equipment within it will
be subject to daily data updates. "Our aim is to take the green
agenda and fuse it with state- of- the- art information technology
systems," says Professor Philip O Kane.
The design team led by Dr Marcus Keane and Dr Denis Kelleher and
Ms Aveen Henry will work closely with the architects to ensure that
the construction of the building operates with the same green principles.
When the building is functional, browsers on the Internet will be
able to go to the UCC site and check how the "green building" is
performing, whether it is maximising renewable energy and minimising
This project will use information technology to study the various
treatments the water receives before it is passed on for human consumption,
its use for industrial and agricultural purposes and the various
means by which human interaction with the resource affects and in
many cases diminishes it.
The "blue city" project will produce a living real-time model
against which water use and abuse can be measured. It will be able
to monitor flooding and sea-level rises due to climate change, as
well as assembling immediately accessible data on the performance
of the Inniscarra reservoir, its hydroelectric and water treatment
plants, stormwater overflows and distribution networks.
The German space agency camera, originally developed for the mission
to Mars, will give a view of the lie of the land, the Lee, its tributaries
and estuary and the coast. The model thus created will be able to
predict the pattern of flooding on a particular farmer's land. This
will have a social implication, says Professor O' Kane because the
planners will be able to go to the farmer and discuss ways of solving
the problem, using a real-time model as a back-up. This project
will also be available for work-in-progress inspection on the Internet.
Information on this and other PRTL projects(phase 1 and 2) is available
on the internet : http://www.ucc.ie/research/