BRE in the news...
Recent BRE coverage in the press, tv and online
2 March 2015
BBC Watchdog Test House - series 2
BBC Watchdog Test House returned to film a second series of the daytime BBC1 show earlier this year, and the 15-part series, which goes out at 11.45am each weekday until 20 March is back on our screens and the BBC iPlayer now. See the Watchdog Test House dedicated page
1 March 2015
The Sunday Times
"We live in a power station"
Sarah Lonsdale writes "...Meanwhile, on a windswept patch of parkland just north of Watford, an extraordinary-looking house with a liong, sloping, transparent orange roof..." – describing the intergrated PV array on the BRE Smart Home, in this piece in The Sunday TImes (subscription required)
28 June 2014
The Financial Times' House & Home'
The Prince's Natuaral House at BRE
The FT featured an exclusive interview with HRH The Prince of Wales in the edition from 28 June 2014. A related story in the paper's House & Home section about the Prince's urban and rural development projects across the UK covered The Prince's Natural House at BRE. See the article on the FT website.
7 May 2014
BBC1: The One Show - eCigarette explosions
A series of demonstrations filmed in BRE's fire research Burn Hall was shown on BBC1's evening programme The One Show. See the programme again via the BBC iPlayer until 14 May. When electronic devices are charged using a charger with a higher current output than that originally supplied, damage can be caused to the lithium batteries, which in turn can lead to a risk of fire or explosion.
28 April 2014
Channel 4: Britain's Most Extreme Weather
The effect gale force winds can have around the home was filmed in BRE's high speed wind tunnel for the first programme in this Channel 4 series presented by Alex Beresford. See the whole programme via the 4oD website, and learn more about our wind environment testing services from this website.
10-28 March 2014
Watchdog Test House is based at BRE
The Prince's Natural House on the BRE Innovation Park at Watford was home to BBC1's Watchdog Test House over three weeks in March. This is covered in more detail on our page at www.bre.co.uk/testhouse
21 February 2014
ITN's Lawrence McGinty reports from BRE Innovation Park, about porous paving as a solution to flooding
ITN also covered flood resisting doors, in the labs of Aquobex - a partner with BRE and architects BACA who are developing a flood resilient house design with funding support from Defra
4 February 2014
BRE lithium battery fire tests feature on BBC TV news and websites
A BBC news story about the dangers of faulty lithium batteries being carried onto aeroplanes features tests carried out in BRE’s fire research labs.
BRE was approached by the BBC’s transport correspondent, Richard Westcott, who asked us to demonstrate how fires can develop in rechargeable lithium batteries. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is concerned about the potential danger posed by these batteries, typically found in phones, cameras and laptops – especially those bought online as low cost replacements.
Using BRE’s fire research Burn Hall, one of the largest fire test labs of its kind in Europe, BRE fire investigations expert David Crowder staged a series of demonstrations showing the scale of fire and explosion that can occur when a lithium battery overheats, by placing the batteries on a carefully regulated laboratory hot plate operating at elevated temperatures.
Overheating can occur in batteries as a result of short circuit (where the metal contacts of the battery become joined by touching other metal items such as keys), or where an internal fault develops in the battery, especially in those sold as budget alternatives online, the manufacture of which may not be so rigorously quality controlled.
Once the batteries reach a critical temperature, an internal chemical reaction causes the lithium content to self-ignite. With two of the batteries tested, both manufacturers’ original parts, the reaction initially produced large amounts of white smoke, and then, some minutes later, ejected flames. On a plane, the smoke would have been clearly visible and it would have been possible to extinguish the fire with a small extinguisher. But, when the ‘copy cat’ non-OEM battery was heated in the same way, it gave little warning smoke and instead exploded, sending metal parts and hot material flying across the test area. This, on a plane or anywhere else, could cause a more serious situation.
To extinguish a lithium battery if it starts smoking, the advice from the CAA is to rapidly cool it using water – for a small battery, simply dropping it in a cup of water, for example. Although live electrical fires should not be extinguished with water, in the case of a battery that is not connected to a device, this is the most effective way of rapidly cooling it and dissipating the thermal energy.
To avoid the risk of fire when transporting batteries, the terminals should be protected, either with the cover supplied with a spare battery, by taping over the terminals, or by placing the battery in a plastic bag to prevent the contacts being shorted. And users should be aware of the potential risks associated with buying budget replacement batteries from the web.
BRE labs feature in the RICS journal Modus
Featured on the front cover, and across four pages inside, BRE's labs are covered in the February 2014 edition of the RICS journal Modus. The cover shows the vast anechoic chamber at BRE, and inside as well as more detail on our acoustics test facilities, our fire resistance furnace lab, unique structural test hall and structures wind tunnel are also covered, acompanied by stunning photography. See the digital version of Modus magazine (jump to page 26 onwards)