Research student, Welsh School of Architecture
Fabrizio Varriale gained his Bachelor and Masters degrees in architectural design at Universita' di Roma Tre. In Rome he also worked in an architects' office and as freelance architect. To pursue his passion for sustainable construction, he achieved an MSc in Environmental Design of Buildings at the Welsh School of Architecture in 2012. He is currently working in the WSA as a part-time Research Assistant for the COST Action TU1104 "Smart Energy Regions" (www.smart-er.eu).
His interests relate to sustainable development and, as an architect, he tends to perceive both the technical and the social sides of an issue. His specific research interest started with design and energy modelling for sustainable buildings, with focus on the renovation of the existing housing stock.
Investigating the feasibility and the potential benefits of establishing regional supply chains of renewable insulation products in Wales
The purpose of the research stems from the desire to explore the role of the built environment and its industry in the transition to a sustainable society. There is a need to investigate the embodied impacts of the built environment in order to understand its potential contribution to decreasing the current unsustainable rates of resource consumption and environmental pressure. The construction sector also has considerable impacts in the social and economic systems, thus the subject enables addressing the three dimensions of sustainability.
The research aims to evaluate the capacity of the Welsh natural resources to meet the demand for domestic insulation products in Wales with locally sourced renewable materials and the trade-offs in environmental land socio-economic terms that would arise if a progressive substitution of conventional products with renewable ones would be implemented.
Insulation products have been chosen as the subject of the study since they represent an essential technology to reduce energy demand in existing and future buildings. The time span of the research covers the next 35 years, as in 2050 the UK will need to have reduced its GHG emissions by 80% from the 1990 baseline. The scope of thermal insulation applications which are considered in the research is limited to the domestic sector, divided into:
Retrofitted dwellings: solid wall insulation and loft insulation;
New dwellings: wall, roof and floor insulation.
Therefore the objectives of the research are:
to assess the possibility to meet the local demand for insulation products at the regional scale, by comparing the demand for natural resources, generated by the use of renewable materials, with the potential supply of the Welsh territory and economy.
to evaluate the trade-off between different technological choices, by comparing the impacts of the different insulation products in environmental, social and economic terms.