PEARL, the Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory, is UCL’s first net-zero carbon in-use building, and a first-of-its-kind research facility. Its highly adaptable and collaborative workspaces also serve as a prototype for new post-Covid ways of working.
PEARL’s laboratory can test the impact of environmental conditions–such as space, colour, lighting, smell, visibility, appearance, touch and sound–on people’s behaviour and perception, bringing experiment conditions as close to real-life scenarios as possible, with the goal of examining and improving how people of all abilities interact with their environment, and each other.
PEARL is carbon negative in-use, due to highly efficient building fabric, services and a photovoltaic array covering the entire roof. The building maximises the use of recycled and recyclable materials, is highly robust, and built for deconstruction and the Circular Economy.
In addition to the ESG funding the project received UKRIC funding, which was vital to ensuring this building was truly a net-zero carbon in use project.
The UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) represents the Government’s and Research Councils’ support for research in infrastructure. It includes new laboratories amongst 14 UK Universities, who’s research will drive £600bn of UK investment over the next 50 years. PEARL is the only UKCRIC facility that involves multi-scalar analysis, and thus lies at the heart of the UKCRIC philosophy and implementation.
PEARL will allow researchers to engage with the public to discover what activities people want or need to do, and the ways in which the environment helps or hinders them. From this knowledge researchers will then be able to apply and test the ways in which the environment can be designed to enable people to live with a greater quality of life.
PEARL will allow the public, researchers, regulators, implementers, and others to see what operation and design ideas would look, feel and work like, thereby cutting the cost of trying out new ideas by testing them in the laboratory before trialing them for real.