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Prof. Sandy (Sandra) Halliday BSc(Hons) MPhil CEng MCIBSE FRSA

Principal, Gaia Research



Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in Engineering Design for Sustainable   Development - University of Strathclyde (2003-6)

BSc (Hons) Engineering Design and Appropriate Technology (1985)

Chartered Engineer (1992)

Master of Philosophy, Reading UK   (1998)

Member, Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)

Affiliate, Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland

Member, Joint RIBA Architecture Course Validation Panel

Member, Women's Engineering Society

Consultant, Action Energy Advice Scheme

Director, Children's Parliament

Board Member, Forward Scotland

Fellow, Royal Society of Arts    

Sandy established her own research & consultancy practice in 1996 to develop sustainable solutions for the built environment. Gaia Research is the newest part of the Gaia Group network, which also comprises Gaia Architects in Edinburgh and Birnam, Gaia Planning and Gaia Group Norway. This facilitates collaborative working with architectural, engineering, urban design and landscape practices and reflects the nature of the construction industry's research requirements in responding to the challenge of sustainable construction.   Gaia Research is a member of Gaia International - a federation of building and urban design practices in Europe who share information on best practice on a regular basis.  

As an active member of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), Sandy has chaired the Meetings Committee, the Technical Conference and participated as a Member of Council & the Executive Board. She is a member of the RIBA/ARB Validation Advisory Panel and an Affiliate of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) where she has assisted in developing an accreditation scheme for sustainable design the first such scheme in the world. Sandy's close links with the CIBSE, RIBA, ARB and RIAS means that she has increasingly been able to bridge the gap between architecture and engineering in particular in process issues, passive design and building physics. She has authored a Green Guide to the Architects' Job Book - RIBA Publications (2000).

Sandy has recently been appointed Professor of Engineering Design for Sustainable Development by the Royal Academy of Engineering to assist in embedding sustainable design throughout engineering education. She will be working with the Departments of Architecture and of Engineering at the University of Strathclyde. She is involved in ecological and environmental charities as immediate past-Chair of the Scottish Ecological Deign Association (SEDA) and as a Director of the Children's Parliament. Sandy is a Board member of Forward Scotland and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.  

Career Development and Experience

Sandy trained in systems analysis in the mid-70's before travelling extensively for a number of years. She decided to train as an engineer while working as a volunteer in the Middle East. Her choice of degree and subsequent work reflects her long-term interest in the social and ecological implications of engineering design.

Her degree course in Engineering Design & Appropriate Technology (1985) encouraged the development of social and environmental awareness alongside a firm engineering discipline, resourcefulness, creativity and sensitivity.   It focussed on socially and environmentally responsible engineering and in particular the development of affordable, environmentally benign, passive, clean and renewable technologies. The course is recognised as of Chartered Engineering status by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institute of Energy, and the Institute of Engineering Designers.

She initially worked in the product design sector with people and their carers who had special needs and was engaged in consultation and technical development. She was invited to undertake a Masters following a project collaboration involving the hospital sector where she identified a need for building design and management strategies to respond to environmental criteria and user needs, in particular aspirations for healthy, efficient and functional buildings. She has since been involved in many aspects of design development in the built environment sector.

She then worked for many years within building services as a consultant and research manager developing & disseminating information on passive design, resource efficient & clean technologies, healthy buildings and benign construction products & materials. She developed a large portfolio of DETR (then DoE) funded research projects and had a significant role at a formative stage in the UK government's approach to these issues. She also initiated a series of Technical Appraisals of innovative energy efficient and low emission technologies including major leading edge works on condensing boilers and radiant heating. She research managed the Environment Section at BSRIA (Building Services Research & Information Association) and founded BSRIA's Centre for Construction Ecology. She authored Building Services and Environmental Issues (BSRIA, 1992); and An Environmental Code of Practice for Buildings and their Services (1994). The latter presented a groundbreaking approach to the building process and the sustainable management of building stock. The Code dovetailed with the BREEAM appraisal tool that was in the early stages of development with the result that the industry was presented with guidance focussed on both process and product.

Sandy authored The Clients Guide to Greener Construction (CIRIA, 1995 and her work on Autonomous Housing looked at emerging new environmental technologies for water, energy and waste management and analysed their appropriateness at different scales of development from the individual house to the major new town development was published in 1996 as Sustainable Housing.

Current Activity

Gaia Research provides specialist advice on sustainable design and continuing professional development for clients, project managers, engineers & architects striving to create sustainable strategies for the built environment. This ranges from feasibility studies, guidance and critique to a handholding service from inception to handover and beyond. This encompasses monitoring and other feedback mechanisms to feed forward into improving design and project management processes. Current and recent commissions include design advice for a major new campus development in Scotland as well as community facilities, factory, sports, housing, office and school projects. Strengths include policy setting, brief development, community consultation, cost issues, passive design strategies. inter-disciplinary education and appraisal tools and techniques to support sustainable design and construction .

Gaia Research has been successful in attracting a diverse range of research funding and has developed a significant portfolio of work in pursuit of construction ecology. This has included design development, monitoring of innovative building design, modelling of clean & renewable technology and numerous desk studies to inform construction professionals and regulators. Current and recent research studies include Affordable Low Allergy Housing for the ODPM, Sustainable Schools - for The Scottish Executive, Solar Desiccant Air Conditioning , Performance of Dynamic Insulation and Animal Architecture for the DETR , Sustainable Rural Housing for the Scottish Executive; Daylighting of Sports Buildings for SportScotland; Social, economic and environmental aspects of Innovative Applications of Roundpole Timber in Construction for the European Northern Periphery Programme, Desk studies include Sustainable Rural Housing and Sustainable Construction & the Regulatory Framework for the Scottish Executive. She is looking to extend existing sustainable design strategies to developing countries with a review of Environmental Opportunities in South African Building Design for the Norwegian Architects Association.   Sandy is a frequent lecturer throughout Europe and has lectured in the USA, Africa and New Zealand.

The experience gained as a consultant and researcher has been developed into interdisciplinary design guidance to support environmentally responsible construction processes.   Gaia Research has recently launched Sustainable Construction CPD a ground-breaking training course and set of guidance documents on sustainable design for designers, clients and all those involved in sustainable development of the built environment

Gaia Research, with Gaia Architects and Gaia Planning, are developing models in pursuit of sustainable development that encompass community participation and environmental architecture. This work is underpinned by the need to ensure long term viability through compatibility of economic, social and environmental objectives. i.e., environmental design should be no more expensive than less sustainable alternatives and revenue and capital funding must be at the core of development thinking. This has resulted in a world Habitat Award for a community development in Scotland and the development of The Sustainable Development Model, a mechanism for bringing together local and global priorities in development projects in peripheral estates and disadvantaged communities, in a way which allows for local setting, ownership and assessment of development indicators. Work with young people on urban design in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland has led to publication by Children in Scotland of Working with Participation:   Eco-City A model for children's participation in the planning and regeneration of their local environment.

Sandy has been a consultee on a wide range of initiatives including BS7750, ISO14000 and BREEAM (currently SEAM) and for five years was a judge for the HVCA/Independent on Sunday Green Building of the Year Award. She is a reviewer for the Environmental Resource Guide published by the American Institute of Architects and a member of the Cross-Party Group on Architecture & the Built Environment.

Selection of clients

Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire County Council, AMEC, Architecture Policy Unit, Architype, Association for Environment Conscious Builders, Bedford County Council, BRANZ (Building Research Association NZ), BRECSU, Bruce Neil Mee, Business Environmental Partnerships, Chartered Institution Building Services Engineers, CIB Health & Safety Group, City of Edinburgh Council, City of Forli' Italy, Commonwealth Architects Association, Crerar and Partners, Danish Society of Architects, DETR, DFEE, DTi, Dundee City Council, East Riding County Council, ECD Architects, Ecology Building Society, Energy & Environment, Energy Design Advisory Scheme, Elaine Rigby Architects, Energy Technology Support Unit, European Housing Ecology Network (EHEN), Fairfield Housing Cooperative, Fallin's Future, Finnish Society of Architects, Frank Mills Associates, Gaia Architects, Gaia Planning, H&V News, Hackland & Dore Architects, Heating & Ventilating Contractors Association, HIghland Council, Humberside School of Architecture, Inari Municipality Finland, IKEA, International Federation of Interior Designers, Kuismanen Architects Oulu Finland, The Lighthouse, NABU - Norway, National Trust for Scotland, Norwegian Society of Architects, ODPM, Orkney Housing Association, Parkhead Housing Association, Perth & Kinross Council, Robert Gordon University, Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, Royal Town Planning Institute, Scottish Executive- Central Research Unit, Scottish Executive - Building Regulations Division, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Scottish Homes, Shetland Architects Association, Simpson & Brown Architects, Sodankyla Municipality Finland, Sport England, SportScotland, Sustainable Communities Initiative, TASC Agency, Thenew Housing Association, Thorn Communications, UIA Sports Group, UIA Sustainability Group, University of Auckland NZ, University of Cape Town - South Africa, University of Dundee, University of St. Andrews, University of Victoria NZ, University of Vaasa Finland, Walter Segal Trust, Waverley Sports Centre, West Glasgow Housing Associations, West Lothian Council.

Sandy Halliday 2004
Gaia Research
The Monastery
Hart St. Lane
Edinburgh EH1 3RG

00 44 (0)131 558 7227

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