At the heart of Hanover

The University

Name: Dr Jon Gates, Lecturer, University of Brighton.

Jon Gates

Dr Jon Gates, University of Brighton

Background:  “I undertook my first degree in Building Surveying and this gave me a love for buildings especially historic buildings. This instilled in me the importance of maintaining our built heritage and streetscape. Whilst studying for my degree I became interested in renewable energy.  This led me to undertake my PhD where my research specialism was the use of Phase Change Materials for solar thermal storage to provide space heating for residential buildings in the UK.  This gave me a working knowledge of solar thermal storage, as part of my experimental set up involved installing a flat plate active solar water heater at the University.  A large proportion of my research and consultancy involves the issues surrounding energy and carbon reduction in buildings. Some of the projects I have worked an and am currently working on include writing the energy strategy for Transition Mayfield, which involved establishing the carbon footprint of the whole village and undertaking a feasibility study into the use of Biomass and Anaerobic digestion and a two year £120,000 project with the Guinness Partnership, that involves the eco retrofit of its office buildings in order to reduce their carbon footprint.”
  • What is your role in the student projects? “I will be managing the student volunteers on the project, to provide them with the support and expertise in order for them to deliver their work packages, but also to develop their skills base and transferable skills.  I will be actively liaising with the community to disseminate the information and knowledge gained from the project and how this can be applied on a wider scale to the residential portfolio”.
  • What attracted you to volunteer for the Hanover Carbon RACE?  “I met Paul Norman of Hanover10:10 at the University of Brighton where I was a guest speaker.  He told me about the community Centre and the excellent work of Hanover 10:10 and HASL. I was impressed by his enthusiasm and commitment and it seemed me that this historic building really needed help to maintain its use, improve its utility and to ensure that it continued to be the centre of the community. After our first meeting I visited the building to gain an understanding of its construction, how it is used and its context.  We decided that we would like to work together and then I along with Zoe Osmond, Business Development Manager at the University of Brighton, looked for a suitable funding stream in order to make this a reality.  The On Our Doorsteps Programme, which falls under Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP) was the best fit”.

The CUPP initiative is based on three main principles:

  1. Being a good neighbour.
  2. The mutual benefit achieved through mutual community university partnership.
  3. A focus on activities within the immediate localities of University of Brighton buildings.

The project provided an excellent opportunity for our students to contribute to the wider community on the issue of sustainability which is a strong theme in their degree programmes. Some of the advantages to the students are that It can help them with ideas for their dissertations, provide them with transferable skills such as energy audits, thermography, wireless data monitoring, working knowledge of low carbon retrofit and contributes to their personal development.

“From my perspective it gives me the opportunity to apply my expertise at a local level, to develop a long term relationship with the Hanover community, that is mutually beneficial and to enable the users of Hanover Centre to make informed decisions on suitable interventions in order to reduce energy use and CO2 emissions that could also be applied to their own homes.”   

See more in The Student Team and the Carbon RACE