UCL Energy Institute


Carbon, Control and Comfort

Carbon, Control and Comfort (CCC) engages householders in the design of heating control systems. The research is a highly interdisciplinary and policy makers are already using our findings.

CCC uses an action research approach and user centred design methods to understand householder comfort practices and design systems to help them drive their heating better; better in terms of comfort, spending less on energy and reducing their carbon footprint. Our fieldwork includes extensive physical monitoring as well as in depth social research. In our fieldwork dwellings in Leeds, the heating systems are ground source heat pumps, whereas our fieldwork dwellings in Merthyr Tydfil (South Wales) have a variety of heating systems.

We are designing and testing both intelligent automation and user driven controls, both of which are field tested by our fieldwork households. The findings of the fieldwork are being validated by an extensive study of a much larger sample, and analysis of a relevant dataset of a representative sample. We are developing frameworks and toolkits for the UK social rented sector landlords on installation, management and maintenance of control systems for their tenants.





Journal Papers


  • Stafford, A; Lilley, D. (Submitted) ‘Predicting in-situ heat pump performance: An investigation into a single ground-source heat pump system in the context of 10 similar systems’. Energy and Buildings.
  • Boait, P.; Dixon, D.; Fan, D. & Stafford, (Submitted) ‘A. Production Efficiency of Hot Water for Domestic Use’ Building Research & Information.


  • Stafford, A. (2011) ‘Long Term Monitoring and Performance of Ground Source Heat Pumps’, Building Research and Information, Vol.39, Issue 6, p.566-573.
  • Boait, P., Fan, D., & Stafford, A. (2011). ‘Performance and control of domestic ground-source heat pumps in retrofit installations.’ Energy and Buildings 43(8): 1968-1976.
  • Shipworth, M. (2011) Thermostat Settings In English Houses: No Evidence Of Change Between 1984 And 2007, Building and Environment, 46(3), 635-642.


  • Boait, P. J. & Rylatt, R. M. (2010) ‘A Method for Fully Automatic Operation of Domestic Heating’, Energy And Buildings, 42(1), 11-16.
  • Shipworth, M., Firth, S. K., Gentry, M. I., Wright, A. J., Shipworth, D. T. and Lomas, K. J. (2010) Central heating thermostat settings and timing: building demographics, Building Research & Information, 38(1), 50-69.

Conference Papers


  • Moore, Haines and Lilley, "Service Design for the installation of renewable heating technology into UK social housing" Submitted to 3rd Service Design and Service Innovation Conference. 8-10 February 2012, Helsinki.


  • Huebner, G.M., Cooper, J., & Jones, K. (2011). ‘My home is my castle – and it better be warm.’ Difficulties in reducing energy consumption in the household. Sustainable Consumption – Towards Action and Impact: Abstract Volume. International Scientific Conference, November 6th – 8th 2011, in Hamburg, Germany.
  • Hinton, E., Bickerstaff, K. & Bulkeley, H. (2011) 'Materialising energy citizenship? Intervening in social (and political) practices' Presentation at the RGS-IGB 2011 annual conference, London, 31st August - 2nd September 2011
  • Hinton, E., Bickerstaff, K. & Bulkeley, H. (2011) 'Practicing energy research: Following comfort practices' Presentation at the RGS-IGB 2011 annual conference, London, 31st August - 2nd September 2011
  • Hinton, E., Bickerstaff, K. & Bulkeley, H. (2011) ''Citizen-practitioners': the critical path for a low carbon transition?' Presentation at the 'Energy and People: Futures, Complexity and Challenges' conference, Oxford, 20-21st September 2011
  • Boait, P. J. & Stafford, A. (2011) ‘Electrical load characteristics of heat pumps and scope for demand side management’, CIRED 2011 conference.


  • Wilson, G. T., Bhamra, T. A. & Lilley, D. (2010) Reducing Domestic Energy Consumption: A User-Centred Design Approach. ERSCP-EMSU Conference. Delft, The Netherlands, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology. The Netherlands, October 25-29, 2010


  • Lilley, D. (2009) Reducing Household Energy Use - Considerations for developing design interventions to encourage more sustainable behaviour, in World Usability Day - Designing for a Sustainable World, Usability Professionals' Association UK Chapter, LBi, Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London, 12th November 2009.
  • Lilley, D., Bhamra, T., Haines, V. and Mitchell, V. (2009) Reducing Energy Use in Social Housing – Examining contextual design constraints and enablers, in Eco Design 2009, 6th International Symposium on Environmentally Conscious Design and Inverse Manufacturing, Sapporo, Japan, 7th - 9th December.


  • Presentations to Green Vision Conference 29 March 2012. Green Vision brings together professional and academic experts from across the built environment, to share best practice and information on low carbon building and property.
  • Presentation to launch of residential wing of eu.bac, the European Building Automation and Controls Association, 7 February 2012.
  • Organised a Domestic Heating Controls Workshop 12 September 2011, involving CCC and participants from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the BEAMA domestic controls association (TACMA) and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).
  • Quoted by BBC in March & August 2011.
  • Ran an engagement workshop with E.ON, 27 May 2011.
  • Summary for DECC on the ‘Interaction between heat pump control and building fabric’, May 2011.
  • Advised the charity Global Cool on their ‘Turn Up The Style, Turn Down The Heat’ campaigns (2009 & 2010)
  • Radio feature interview listened to by over a million people on over 20 radio stations, Christmas 2010.
  • Working with heat pump manufacturers to improve monitoring of heat pump performance (ongoing).