Bristol University students took home a first and a second prize in the two categories in the Royal Academy of Engineering’s recent Poster Competition.

Placed first in the Sustainable Development section, the design team of LW Chan, JLH Chen, CCS Li and N Zhu, under the guidance of Dr John Davis and Dr Dawei Han, designed an Eco House, incorporating a grey water system operation process which recycles water from showers to flush toilets, a solar panel powered heating system and even a roof garden containing plants capable of providing enough oxygen for 87 people.

Sustainable development can be defined as “the delivery of competitively priced goods and services which satisfy human needs and bring quality of life, while progressively reducing ecological impacts and resource intensity throughout the life cycle, to a level at least in line with the Earth’s estimated carrying capacity” and an eco house is a sustainable development which is designed to make use of the surrounding environment with minimum detrimental effects.

The team’s imaginative and ecologically-friendly approach to design created a student house of the future, capable of housing some 51 residents. It can provide most of its own energy, reduce water consumption by 30% and has minimal CO2 emissions.

Placed second in the Principles of Engineering Design category, Bristol’s other winning team of Nigel de Gray, Adam Gait, Ben John and David Longhurst’s poster described a Bristol Floating Harbour Landmark Bridge. The floating harbour at the heart of Bristol is a triumph of 19th century engineering and is currently the focus of a redevelopment programme. The brief was to design a landmark bridge spanning the floating harbour at a point near to the SS Great Britain and the team did just that, with breathtaking results.

The competition involved 22 universities which are currently part of The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Visiting Professors in Engineering Design for Sustainable Development or Visiting Professors in the Principles of Engineering Design schemes.

David Foxley of The Royal Academy of Engineering and organizer of the competition says,

"The Bristol teams have taken a holistic approach to design. The design of the eco-house is aesthetically pleasing and modern looking and has design features to reduce energy and water consumption. It is this multi-faceted approach to design that students will need to develop, as they acquire the (sustainability) skills they will need in their future careers."

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, the Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship - comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers - provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.
  2. The Academy’s Visiting Professors in Principles of Engineering Design initiative was started in 1989 and is active in 44 UK universities. Admission to the scheme has been by competitive bidding upon an invitation from The Academy. Engineering design encompasses those activities which intelligently associate useful, economic, reliable and appropriate ideas with technology to define an engineering project, product, process or system to satisfy a market need. The good engineering designer is therefore a key link in the industrial environment. There has been a national failure over many years to recognise fully the importance of engineering design, which has in turn contributed to a serious loss of international competitiveness. Recognising the importance of rectifying this national weakness, The Royal Academy of Engineering considered carefully what initiatives it might take during the 1990s which would quickly address the heart of the problem. The Academy’s answer has taken the form of a scheme of Visiting Professors in Principles of Engineering Design. This enables distinguished, senior engineers in business to work with their academic colleagues to provide a bridge for undergraduates from education to industry. Their role is to demonstrate and transmit to students and staff that design is the integrating theme in all the engineering disciplines within the university.
  3. The Academy’s Visiting Professors in Engineering Design for Sustainable Development scheme was launched in 1998. Sustainable Development can be defined as, ‘development that meets the needs of the present generation, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. The Academy sees that the challenge for engineers is to provide engineering solutions that will achieve such an aim. The purpose of this scheme is to develop teaching materials, based on case studies, which will enhance both the understanding and the practice of teaching Sustainable Development. Convincing case studies can only be developed by leading edge industrial practitioners working as Visiting Professors in unison with experienced teachers, making this scheme a very close partnership between industry and academia.

For more information please contact

Claire McLoughlin at the Royal Academy of Engineering