NETTA challenges student and professionals to design de-carbonised homes

NETTA challenges student and professionals to design de-carbonised homes


A four-month online interdisciplinary competition challenges ‘Built Environment’ students and 2020 graduates from UK universities to design carbon neutral communities fit for our future, and homes constructed from timber or hybrid systems that increase the health and wellbeing of people, the community and our planet.

The North East Timber Trade Association (NETTA), under current chairman Bill Urmston and education lead Richard Gore, are partnering with Sunderland City Council and MOBIE, via the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and Timber Research and Development Association’s (TRADA) University Engagement Programme, in a competition that challenges our future specifiers to work in multidisciplinary teams to design homes and communities that reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with construction and operation.

Riverside Sunderland: an online University Design Challenge (#RSUDC21) asks current and 2020 graduates from UK Built Environment Courses to team up and collaborate to design: (1) one 3 bed family home in detail and (2) an indicative masterplan, to include landscape and streetscape with green and open spaces – a mixed and vibrant community of 100 desirable homes, on the Riverside Sunderland site.

The home designs must meet or exceed the operational and embodied carbon targets in the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge and be based on timber or hybrid systems.  The system should be designed for modern methods of construction (MMC) and offsite manufacture (OSM), helping to regenerate the local area by developing skilled jobs in manufacturing, construction and a holistic new-build delivery that enables the UK to reduce construction emissions and meet our legally binding climate commitment to reach Net Zero by 2050.

Why timber? The Climate Change Committee identified biomass – wood and plants – as having an import role in enabling the UK to drive down emissions as we transition to a low carbon economy. The stocks of biomass are not limitless and therefore must be used in the most effective way with uses that enable long-term carbon storage being prioritized, such as more timber use within buildings. See WOOD: Building the Bioeconomy.

So how do we both impart essential knowledge whilst encouraging our current and future design professionals to use timber and timber products, appropriately and effectively within de-carbonised home design? We ask the people who are at the forefront of their profession, from the timber trade through to the Government to share their experience and knowledge – and they did, in a series of themed online webinars that ran throughout February.

With 80+ speakers and 26 hours of essential viewing available, where do you start? Starting next week, for 4 weeks, we will bring you both the highlights and recommended resources, to aid you in your continued professional development and understanding of how and where to use timber in de-carbonised construction.

Wanting to get a head start? View the webinars here.

Special thanks to our gold sponsor CTI, our silver sponsors RothoblaasAccoyaPEFC UK, and TDCA, and our bronze sponsors ASBPBSW, and Wood for Good.

The #RSUDC21 partners are TTF, NETTA, TRADA, Sunderland City Council and MOBIE

Join thousands of people who get the latest insights and stats from experts across the timber industry by subscribing to our newsletter, and by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


* indicates required