BUILD Q4 2019

38 BUILD Q4 2019 Jun19346 ree Running Buildings is a company that feels simultaneously ahead of its time and, yet, very much needed right now. As experts in building energy demand, and specifically in how to reduce it, they are at the very cutting edge of an industry that remains vital to the modern construction landscape, as it looks to evolve alongside a swiftly changing environment. Here, Dominic offers more insight into Free Running Build- ings’ expertise and services. “The company was founded as a spin-out company from the University of Leeds as a vehicle to translate academic research into real-world applications. By maintaining these close links with university research groups, FRB recognises the most innovative projects and provides R&D support. Alongside the research and development aspect of the company, Free Running Buildings also provides consultancy services in environmental modelling and design, and Computa- tional Fluid Dynamics. Dominic continues, moving on to discuss the areas that the company specialises in. “We focus on covering all aspects of building energy demand, from appliances and equipment, through to the building structure and fabric. The more mature areas of development for FRB focuses on passive ventilation terminals with temperature regulation technology. These are roof mounted terminals that provide regulation ventilation air, whilst pre-conditioning incoming air with zero energy demand, to reduce the load on space-heating and/or cooling systems. “Free Running Buildings also uses environmental and energy modelling software to provide clients with detailed analysis of current and potential energy loads associated with their building and retrofit options. Options may include simple changes to scheduling and management of existing building operations which can have a significant energy demand reduction with zero capital costs.” Counting the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and several academic institutions among their clients and partners, FRB looks set to be a colossal influence on the future of British construction. For the time being, they can be defined by innovation, and an attitude to, always, “try new Defining the Future of Building Energy Demand Specialists in low-energy building technologies, Free Running Buildings (FRB) is a research and development company that aims to produce products that lower building energy demand. Perhaps unsurprisingly, with this in mind, the company was recognised as the ‘Most Innovative in Energy Modelling’ in BUILD’s 2019 Design and Build Awards. We spoke with Research and Development Director, Dominic O’Connor to find out more. F things”. According to Dominic, this has been the driving force behind FRB’s success so far. “By recognising the skills of the team members and understand- ing how these can be adapted and pivoted to be used in other areas, FRB has maintained a diverse view of building technol- ogies to reduce energy demand. By investing in one area for a set amount of time for development, before re-assessing and developing similar but tangential technology, the scope of the company continues to grow, and expertise widen. “As a company still maturing with an emphasis on R&D, FRB in- itially seeks to operate through collaboration, using facilities as test sites for product development and testing. FRB often has a presence at major exhibitions as a means to attract potential partners and clients, demonstrating new technologies to those who are actively engaged with seeking new opportunities.” “Operating as a co-operative, team members are given a share, incentivising new staff by immediately letting their voice be heard. This environment breeds success as staff are given the responsibility to operate how they see best, all within a managed structure.” Finally, Dominic comments on the challenges that are facing the industry now and moving forwards into the future. Naturally, as plagues many academic establishments, a difficulty to test to real-world criteria, and establish real-world viability remains at the forefront of their efforts. “A consistent challenge that Free Running Buildings face as an R&D company are the ability to test designs and prototypes outside the laboratory in real world situations. Collaboration partners can be reluctant to be the test sites for prototypes untested outside of the laboratory. However, this can be contradictory as collaboration partners are willing for technologies to be implemented once testing has been complete elsewhere, which first cannot be completed without prototypes installed in real world conditions.” Company: Free Running Buildings Name: Dominic O’Connor Website: