The built environment is a major consumer of energy, accounting for approximately 38% of the total global primary energy use and 25% of energy-related CO2 emissions. While it has been established that energy use in the built environment is a key contributor to anthropogenic climate change and therefore a key element in reducing the annual rate of increase of emissions, the sector has historically remained under-researched.
Research into building energy use includes such broad topic areas as building systems performance, upgrading the thermal efficiency of the stock and the promotion of energy-efficient construction technologies. It is therefore necessarily layered, broad, multi-disciplinary and potentially of high impact. The Buildings Team has a reputation for producing research findings that challenge or overturn widely-held preconceptions and has strong links with other research themes at UCL. Together with our colleagues in the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, the Buildings Team achieved the highest combination of excellence and critical mass in the 2008 RAE.
Energy and buildings research is increasingly dominated by the rapid pace of development of policy and deployment programmes, and the consequent need to support evaluation and learning, to contextualise research and to increase research capacity across the UK. The Buildings Team has responded with the following initiatives:
- initiating discussion across research and policy making communities on the strategic importance of a comprehensive data framework for buildings and energy use
- arguing for and demonstrating the strategic importance of buildings in the development of a flexible, resilient and robust energy system for the UK;
- arguing for and demonstrating the importance of high quality empirical research and innovative research strategies to support learning and capacity building;
- establishing, with Loughborough University, a £5.8 million EPSRC funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand Reduction in the Built Environment.
SMART systems development
SMART aims to develop a holistic vision of smart energy systems that sets out the future functional requirements including data management; infrastructure: electricity and heating systems and customer engagement.
FLASH: Facilitation, learning and sharing
The programme aims to provide London-based SMEs with access to the most recent and credible research on retrofit with the goal of aiding their expansion into low carbon businesses.
Energy Zone Consortium: Optimising thermal efficiency of existing housing
This consortium project aims to produce a definitive roadmap for low-carbon retrofitting that informs the development of policy; research programmes and technical and supply chain solutions.
Carbon Buzz is the result of joined-up thinking those who play a major role in the design and construction of buildings to improve the awareness of building performance indicators.
Micro Distributed Energy
This project aims to better our understanding of the impact of people, building interactions on energy use and power demand both now and in a future decarbonised society.
People, Energy and Buildings: Distribution, Diversity and Dynamics
PEB brings together an international multi-disciplinary team of researchers within an interdisciplinary analysis, evaluation and interpretation framework to build novel dynamic demand-supply models.
KTP Partnership with PassivSystems/AEA Technology
This partnership will develop control and monitoring software for a novel domestic communication and control system.
BLP LCC for sustainability
This project extends the BLP LCC on-line toolkit to embrace in a single model: embodied and operational energy costs, CO2 emissions, code for sustainable homes, capital and operational costs for new and existing dwellings.
The team at UCL-Energy lead the UK Energy Research Centre's systems theme, the main activities of which are to build and run energy system models to generate policy-relevant insights.
Building and Energy Data Framework
This project aims to produce greatly improved data on the building stock of Britain - both domestic and non-domestic - and its uses of energy.
London-Loughborough Centre for doctoral research in energy demand
The LoLo centre, operated by UCL and Loughborough University, aims to produce the next generation of highly skilled energy researchers.
Carbon, Control and Comfort
The project aims to engage users in the design of control systems to encourage the use of technology and fabric of their homes more effectively.
Centenary Quay Project
The Centenary Quay project aims to measure the energy performance of new environmentally friendly dwellings. This study is being organised and funded by the Technology Strategy Board and it is a partnership study between Crest Nicholson and University College London (UCL). Read more
Centenary Quay Project
The Centenary Quay project aims to measure the energy performance of new environmentally friendly dwellings. This study is being organised and funded by the Technology Strategy Board and it is a partnership study between Crest Nicholson and University College London (UCL).
The Centenary Quay new development will be subjected to a detailed and intensive assessment of their environmental impact (Building Performance Evaluation) that will help to deliver more energy efficient, better performing buildings.
By measuring space heating, electricity, and hot water use, and temperatures in the houses, UCL will be able to assess how the real performance of the occupied houses compares to the design targets. Operational data from the site's energy supplier will enable us to determine the overall performance of the combined heat and power and district heating systems.
This information will help the developers, constructors and designers to understand how to build future environmentally friendly dwellings that are comfortable for the occupants at the same time as being less polluting. Similarly, gathered information will help occupants to understand how their home performs and how to use it to optimise levels of comfort whilst reducing energy use
Anna Mavrogianni - Research Associate
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Eleni Oikonomou - Research Associate
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Tadj Oreszczyn - Professor of Energy & Environment
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Rokia Raslan - Research Associate
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Andrew Smith - Senior Research Associate
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Catalina Spataru - Senior Research Associate
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Andy Stone - Research Associate
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Alex Summerfield - Honorary Lecturer
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For a comprehensive list of publications please use UCL Discovery.
Barrett, M., Lowe, R. J., Oreszczyn, T., Steadman, P. (2008). How to support growth with less energy. Energy Policy 36(12), 4592-4599
Hamilton, I.G., Davies, M. & Gauthier, S., 2010. London's Urban Heat Island: A multiscaled assessment framework. ICE Urban Design and Planning, In Press.
Hamilton, I.G., Davies, M., Ridley, I. et al., 2010. The impact of the ‘take back’ effect in UK domestic stock modeling: health impacts and CO2 emissions. Building Service Engineering Research and Technology, In Press.
Hamilton, I.G. et al., 2010. Exploring energy integration between new and existing developments. Building Research & Information, 38(6), p.593.
Wilkinson, P. et al., 2009. Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: household energy. The Lancet, 374(9705), pp.1917-1929.
Lowe, R. J., Oreszczyn, T. 2008. Regulatory standards and barriers to improved performance for housing. Energy Policy 36(12), 4475-4481
Lowe, R.J. 2007. Addressing the challenges of climate change for the built environment (editorial), Building Research & Information, 35 (4) 343-350.
Lowe, R.J. 2007. Technical options and strategies for decarbonising UK housing, Building Research & Information, 35 (4) 412-425.
Mavrogianni, A. and Mumovic, D., 2010. On the use of windcatchers in schools: Climate change, occupancy patterns, and adaptation strategies. Indoor and Built Environment, 19(5): 340-354.
Mavrogianni, A., Davies, M., Wilkinson, P. and Pathan, A., 2010. London housing and climate change: Impact on comfort and health - Preliminary results of a summer overheating study. Open House International, 35(2): 49-59.
Oreszczyn, T. & Lowe, R.J. 2010. Thoughts on Energy and Buildings Research in the UK: objectives, methods and funding mechanisms, Building Research and Information, 38 (1) 107-122.
Oikonomou, E et al. 2010.The relative importance of the urban heat island for overheating in London dwellings versus the thermal quality of the buildings. To be submitted.
S. I. Bohnenstengel et al. The LUCID project: the local urban climate in London. To be submitted.
Wilkinson, P. et al., 2009. Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: household energy. The Lancet, 374(9705): 1917-1929.
Raslan R. & Davies M., 2009. Results Variability in Accredited Building Energy Performance Compliance Demonstration Software in the UK: An Inter‐Model Comparative Study. Journal of Building Performance Simulation 3 (1): 63-85.
Raslan R. & Davies M., 2010. An Analysis of Industry Capability for the Implementation of a Software Based Compliance Approach for the UK Building Regulations 2006. Building Services Engineering Research & Technology, 31(2):141-162
Shipworth, D. 2007. ‘Truth in Complex Adaptive Systems models should be based on proof by constructive verification’ in eds C. Gershenson, D. Aerts and B. Edmonds Worldviews, Science and Us: Philosophy and Complexity, World Scientific, New York. pp.141-155.
Shipworth, D. 2006. Qualitative modelling of sustainable energy scenarios: An application and extension of the Bon Qualitative Input-Output model, Construction Management and Economics, 24(7): 695-703.
Shipworth, D. 2002. A stochastic framework for embodied greenhouse gas emissions modelling of construction materials, Building Research & Information, 30 (1):16-24.
Shipworth, M.et al. 2010. Central heating thermostat settings and timing: building demographics. Building Research & Information, 38:50-69
Shipworth, M. (in press) Thermostat Settings In English Houses: No Evidence Of Change Between 1984 And 2007, Building and Environment.
Spataru, C., Gillot, M., 2011 The Use of Intelligent Systems for Monitoring Energy Use and Occupancy in Existing Homes, In: R.J. Howlett, L.C. Jain & S.H. Lee (Eds.): Sustainability in Energy and Buildings, SIST 7: 245-254, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Spataru, C., Gillott, M., Hall, M., 2010 Domestic Energy and Occupancy – A Novel Post Occupancy Evaluation Study, International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies, 5: 148-157
Gillott, M., Rodrigues, L., Spataru C., 2010 Low Carbon Housing Design Informed by Research. Journal of Institution of Civil Engineers, 163( 2): 77-8
Summerfield, A.J., Lowe, R.J. & Oreszczyn, T. 2010. Two Models for Benchmarking UK Domestic Energy Demand, Building Research and Information, 38 (1): 12-24.
- The first to demonstrate that it is theoretically possible for UK’s domestic carbon emission to be reduced by 60% by 2050 and up to 90% of electricity supplied by renewables if demand side measures are deployed.
- Along with Leeds Metropolitan University, it has produced probably the most significant demand side reduction research discovery in recent years, i.e. party walls can lose more heat than external walls. (Shortlisted for the 2007 Carbon Trust /Sunday Telegraph innovation award)
- The first to provide concrete examples of the domestic sector “rebound effect”.
- The first to discover that space heating in industrial buildings may exceed the total consumption of offices and shops and that 30% of office lighting is wasted.
- Beginning to map for the first time domestic energy price elasticity by geographic region and income.
- Quantifying the scale of mismatch between theoretical energy performance of buildings, their energy efficient components and actual performance.
- Quantifying the potential health improvements achievable through the improvement of the energy performance of the housing stock.
- Developing innovative UK domestic stock energy models to support advice to policy makers and assess the impact of policy.
- Providing the analytical and first modelling evidence for the importance of decarbonising the electricity system to deliver low-carbon heat and transport, which is now received wisdom in UK Government policy.
- Providing the analytical and modelling evidence of the importance of green fiscal reform to decarbonisation and the low-carbon industrial transition, now a formal Coalition Government commitment.
- Producing the first book on the socio-economics of hydrogen, and the conditions it must meet to play a major role in the future energy system.
- Developing a comprehensive policy package and research agenda for decarbonising the existing UK housing stock.