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Personal profile

Research interests

Pete Walker is a chartered civil engineer, a fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers (UK), and a member of The Institution of Civil Engineers (UK). Pete studied at Sheffield City Polytechnic, now Sheffield Hallam University, (BSc Civil Engineering) and the University of Edinburgh (PhD Structural Engineering). Having previously worked in Zimbabwe (University of Zimbabwe) and Australia (University of New England), Pete joined the University of Bath in 1998. He was promoted to Professor in 2006, and he is currently Director of the research Centre for Innovative Construction Materials. 

His current research interests include bio-based construction materials, materials for improved indoor air quality, structural masonry and innovative timber engineering. Since joining Bath he has led various research projects, having attracted funding as PI or CI from the BRE Trust, Carbon Connections, DEFRA, EASME, EPSRC, FP7, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, Great Western Research, Technology Strategy Board, and Innovate UK. Pete has also received substantial financial and in-kind support from a number of SME and large scale industrial partners.

Research

Covering a number of construction materials, Pete’s research work is centred on the development of low carbon technologies suitable for new and retrofitting applications. His original research work focussed on structural masonry (prestressed brickwork (PhD), masonry arch bridges, dry-stone walling), but whilst working in Zimbabwe (1989-1993) and Australia (1994-1997) expanded to include earth building (compressed earth blocks, rammed earth).

Since working at Bath Pete has also led research projects developing straw bale construction, hemp-lime construction, and innovative timber engineering. His research work initially centred on physical, mechanical and structural characterisation, but has developed to include work on micro-structural analysis, heat and moisture transfer in porous materials, life-cycle appraisal, environmental monitoring and testing and most recently indoor environmental quality. Past projects have included:

  • The construction and testing of BaleHaus, an innovative prefabricated straw bale house, at the University of Bath
  • ECO-SEE: Eco-innovative, Safe and Energy Efficient wall panels and materials for a healthier indoor environment, FP7
  • EuroCell project: EU market development of MODCELL - a prefabricated eco-building system utilising renewable materials, EASME

The impact of Pete’s research work includes enabling the successful construction of a number of award winning and innovative low carbon buildings, including to date: Adnams’ new brewery distribution centre; Cheshire Oaks M&S supermarket; Eco-Depot, York; Knowle West Media Centre, Bristol; Orwell Housing Association, Suffolk; Pines Calyx, St Margaret’s Bay; Rivergreen Centre, Durham; The Triangle, Swindon; Wales Institute Sustainable Education (WISE) Building (Centre for Alternative Technology).

Pete’s PhD students have won the IStructE Young Researchers Conference Oral Presentation award on three occasions (Dr Jon Shanks, 2004; Dr Chris Mundell 2008; and, Dr Andy Thomson 2009). He and his team have been the recipients of three best journal-paper awards from the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Other responsibilities

Since 2019 Pete has been working as a lead academic on the University of Bath's Climate Action Framework. This led to the university declaring a climate emergency in May 2020. He is currently working with colleagues implementing the university's Climate Action plan.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

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