Tony, a mechanical engineer, based in our Newcastle office, started his MEng Building Services Engineering in September 2012 at Northumbria University. He completed his BEng section of the degree full time in May 2015, before starting at Black & White in June 2015, continuing onto the MEng section of the course under part time study.

In July 2017 Tony graduated as a Master of Engineering with First Class Honours in Building Services Engineering from Northumbria University.

For the final year project of the BEng section of the course he was tasked to undertake the design of a library in San Francisco which included specialist archive and performance spaces along with the standard book floors and front and back of house areas you’d expect to find in a library. The basis of the project centred around the use of low carbon technologies and the use of tri-generation to supply cooling, heat and power to the critical spaces as a base load and the rest of the building during occupied hours. He undertook detailed analysis on how the system would operate and sizing gas turbine CHP units to achieve both base and peak loadings. Calculations were also carried out to show the carbon saving that could be achieved by implementing this system against a more conventional means of heating / cooling and power generation.

Speaking about his first year MEng project, Tony said “We were tasked to produce a concept report for a new bank HQ in New York City. As NYC suffers greatly from air pollution, I proposed a concept to ensure good air quality in the building so staff and visitors have a better working environment. The way I proposed to achieve this was through the use of Biofilters, this is where plant material is integrated within the mechanical ventilation system at the supply and extract points, air is supplied through planters and extracted though ‘green walls’ cleaning the air of pollution as well as oxygenating it. It was found in research that not only did this ensure a good working environment but savings would be made from the reduction of fresh air supplied from outside, reducing the amount by up to 60%.”

For his MEng dissertation Tony undertook a literature review on occupancy patterns for residential buildings that have been derived from academic research. The selected patterns were based on either recorded or simulated data, to see if comparisons can be drawn with the aim of cross validating the models that have been produced.  Modelling occupancy for residential buildings is far more challenging than for other types of buildings, as the occupancy and energy usage can vary greatly, as it is not based on rational choices, but rather on user habits and preferences. Academic research has been undertaken to try and find occupancy patterns where the diverse nature of residential occupancy has been incorporated. In engineering practice, occupancy models for building energy simulations are often based on the designers’ opinion, and usually based on one standard user pattern which is applied to all spaces of similar type, these will often not include any thought for people’s behaviour and how this will affect the building. These issues made finding a good level of validation between the models analysed difficult as no two people are alike. To tackle the validation, Tony undertook a 2 stage analysis where the first stage compared the methodologies used to derive the patterns and the second stage used the patterns in a building simulation to compare how their energy usage differed. It was found that when analysing the findings the occupancy models that produced the best validation where those that were in closer proximity to where the study was undertaken, this showed that culture as well as behaviour played a part in occupancy behaviour. This was concluded that with, the difference in energy use between the patterns was still varied enough to show that a ‘one profile fits all’ approach to occupancy modelling will inevitably lead to bad design.