Green planet

UCL to launch ‘living labs’ environmental research facility

The construction of UCL’s Controlled Active Ventilation Environment (CAVE) laboratory, which is dedicated to the study of climate concerns and airborne hazards, has reached its final stage and is now completed.

The facility is said to be the first of its kind in terms of extensive research capabilities and is located at the LondonEast-UK Business and Technical Park, Dagenham. CAVE is set to carry out full scale research into air quality and ventilation challenges in buildings; finding the answers to questions around a range of issues such as infectious diseases, indoor air in urban environments, the effects of traffic pollution and how to improve and protect indoor air.

CAVE is an expansion of UCL’s investments into various experimental facilities at LondonEast-UK, as a result of an estimated £40 million investment in the Person Activity Research Laboratory back in 2021.

The CAVE project itself cost £9.4 million to create. The facility has the potential to construct “fully monitored, full-scale living labs” including two-storey modular buildings in order to facilitate complex experiments on “the relationship between external environmental factors and indoor air quality in realistic conditions.”

CAVE will look to explore ways to make spaces healthier, safer and more resilient to environmental challenges both now and in the future – placing people’s health at the heart of their research.

In terms of long-term ambitions, CAVE will work to support thermal comfort solutions and the development of air quality to combat climate change in a sustainable and ethical way, helping the UK meet its larger environmental sustainability objectives.

CAVE is expected to open officially in early 2024.