caroline engel purcell
MSc Architectural Conservation
Caroline joined Carrig in October 2018 as the Head of Research and her work focuses on climate change mitigation and adaptation for the historic built environment.
Caroline holds a Doctorate in Architecture and a Masters of Science in Architectural Conservation from the University of Edinburgh and is knowledgeable on international policies and national regulations that influence conservation practice in Ireland, Europe and the United States. Caroline has also completed the CPD Certificate in Hygrothermal Risk Assessment from Technological University Dublin.
Caroline’s doctoral thesis, Modern Movement Conservation: International Principles and National Policies in Great Britain and the United States of America (2017), documented how the experimental nature of modernist architectural design, its controversial reception and an increased focus on energy efficiency over the past four decades has challenged and altered conservation policy, principles and practice. The general unpopularity of modernist architecture, especially brutalist architecture, has meant the survival of these buildings (even protected ones) has often depended largely upon sustainability arguments, which had previously never been a requirement for heritage.
Since moving to Ireland, Caroline has become an active member of the ICOMOS Ireland National Scientific Committee on Energy, Sustainability and Climate Change (NSCES+CC). With a small team of committee members, she was awarded a grant from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) in 2017 to research and prepare a compendium of the most current practice guidance and known risks associated with the energy renovation of traditional buildings. In collaboration with the Heritage Council, Caroline and Carrig developed the resulting report, Deep Energy Renovation of Traditional Buildings: Addressing Knowledge Gaps and Skills Training in Ireland (2018), into a pilot 5-day training course for building professionals, which took place over winter 2019/2020.
In 2018, Carrig, along with a specially compiled team of experts, were appointed via public tender by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to prepare Ireland’s first Climate Change Adaptation Sectoral Plan for Built and Archaeological Heritage (2019), for which Caroline acted as Project Coordinator.
Most recently, Carrig, in partnership with the Irish Green Building Council, Passivate Building Energy Consultancy and KRA Renewables, has been awarded a public contract through the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to update and revise the 2010 Advice Series publication Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings. As Co-Head of Energy, Caroline has prepared a number of energy retrofit plans and detailed specifications for real-life buildings in Ireland, a selection of which have been described in the project list below.
Caroline has presented her research at a number of international conferences including the annual Association for Preservation Technology conference in New York, the DOCOMOMO International conference in Seoul, the first international Society of Architectural Historians conference in Glasgow, the International Energy Agency conference and workshop in Dublin, and as a guest lecturer at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University in New York. She has previously worked as a preservationist and researcher for the National Park Service in the Grand Teton National Park and the Adirondack State Park.
Project - Deep Energy Renovation of Traditional Buildings: Addressing Knowledge Gaps and Skills Training in Ireland
Client: - Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
Description - A small consortium of ICOMOS NSCES+CC members were successfully awarded funding from the SEAI Research, Development & Demonstration fund to prepare a gap study on the existing state of knowledge in Ireland relating to the energy renovation of traditional buildings. This study reviewed nearly 500 sources, including governmental policies and statutes, research reports, peer-reviewed journals and best practice guidance. The final report was designed to provide practitioners with an overview of the findings and to link them to the best available research and guidance on a variety of topics. The document also contained a summary of actions necessary to address the identified shortages in knowledge, skills and policy.
Project - Fundamentals of Energy Renovation for Traditional Buildings: CPD Lecture Series
Client - Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
Description - Carrig and the Heritage Council were successfully awarded funding from the SEAI Research, Development & Demonstration fund to deliver a 10-module (30 lecture) lecture series with Continuing Professional Development credits provided by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and Engineers Ireland (EI). The lecture series was developed in consultation with a panel of leading professional organisations and has been designed to provide attendees with an introduction to the challenges, risks and rewards of renovating traditional buildings for improved energy efficiency. The course has been aimed at qualified building professionals and the lecture content is therefore technical in nature. The lecture series was delivered over autumn 2019 / winter 2020.
Project - Climate Change Adaptation Sectoral Plan for Built & Archaeological Heritage
Client - Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht
Description - Carrig worked with Dr Cathy Daly of the University of Lincoln and the Irish Green Building Council to develop the government’s first climate change adaptation plan for the heritage sector. This plan was created in line with the Climate Action Plan 2019 and guidelines provided by the government. The Plan was approved by the Dáil in September 2019 and published in November 2019.
Project - Understanding Carbon in the Historic Environment
Client - Historic England
Description - This study was commissioned by Historic England to better understand carbon emissions from the historic built environment. This study used life cycle assessment to calculate the embodied and operational carbon emissions associated with two completed refurbishment projects – one in northern England and one in London – which were compared to a base-case (continue to operate the building as-is) and a new-build (demolish the existing building a construct a new building that meets current energy standards). The study found that retrofit was the less carbon intensive solution up to 60 years from now, which means that it should be a viable policy objective to drastically reduce carbon emissions in the short-term.
Project - Climate Change Risk Assessment for Ballinskelligs Priory
Client - Office of Public Works
Description - Carrig were commissioned by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in 2020 to conduct an in-depth climate change risk assessment for Ballinskelligs Priory, which is under increased threat from coastal erosion due to sea level rise. Existing climate change data and risk assessment methodologies were used to assess the climate related risks posed to the site in short, medium and long term. A series of adaptation measures and further research were then proposed based on these measures.
Project – Energy Retrofit of The Rubrics Building, Trinity College Dublin
Client – Trinity College Dubin
Description – In 2019, Carrig was appointed with Pascall + Watson Architects to design a careful, historically sensitive yet ambitious deep energy retrofit plan for the Rubrics Building (1702), which is a visually prominent buildings on the historic TCD campus and is a Protected Structure. To develop the retrofit plan, Carrig undertook a number of on-site surveys to understand the condition and a thermal efficiency of the existing building fabric. Carrig worked with Passivate Building Energy Consultancy to run in-situ U-value tests and to develop a series of hygrothermal risk analyses using WUFI for different insulation proposals. Through this work, Carrig has developed an effective, low-risk and historically appropriate series of energy efficiency improvement measures.