UCL Energy Institute


Dr Alex Summerfield

Senior Research Associate

Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Nov 2012

Research summary

Summerfield has specifically gained extensive research experience in the handling and analysis of large datasets from building and energy surveys. These include projects that involve hundreds of buildings of diverse type and age and high frequency monitoring of environmental conditions and energy demand that amount to hundreds of millions of records. He has developed analytical approaches that are aimed at providing results useful for the formulation of policy, such as the timing and targeting of interventions. For instance, Summerfield has investigated the longitudinal analysis of low energy dwellings in the UK with data spanning more than 18 years as a way to understand the dynamic relationship between people, buildings, and energy demand distributions. Similarly, analysis of data from a survey on conservatory usage in London has highlighted the increase in the use of central heating and occupancy of conservatories through winter, in spite of, or even because, of a shift to double glazing in these house additions. This research is likely to have significant policy implications for future regulation of conservatories. In work on the micro-CHP field trials in collaboration with the Carbon Trust, his analysis at the machine (operational) cycle level was instrumental in identifying the critical role of control systems and cycle length in influencing the overall energy performance and carbon benefit of this technology. 

Teaching summary

2009-2010 Module for MSc EDE: Methods of environmental analysis

2009-2010 Course Director MRes Built Environment: Energy Demand Studies


University of Sydney
PhD, Architecture | 2003
University of Auckland
MArch, Architecture | 1996
University of Auckland
B.Arch, Architecture | 1992
Victoria University of Wellington
BSc, Physics | 1985


Alex Summerfield BSc MArch (Dist) PhD has a background in both physics and architectural design. He has over two decades of experience in research, consultancy, and teaching at the interface between technology and design in the built environment. Since 2004, his research at UCL has mainly focussed on the challenge of reductions in energy demand and carbon emissions from the built environment. 

His doctorate was in the field of Architectural Design Science at the University of Sydney, where he was awarded the Henry Jack Cowan Scholarship for academic excellence. In 2007 he was awarded an RCUK Academic Fellowship at the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies (BSGS) where he led the Environmental Methods module for the MSc Environmental Design and Engineering course. Summerfield joined the UCL Energy Institute in 2009 as Academic Manager for the Doctoral Training Programme and new EPSRC funded Doctoral Training Centre (for 80 PhDs over 5 years) and was also course director for the new MRes Built Environment: Energy Demand Studies. 

He is currently a Senior Research Associate at the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy, and Resources (BSEER), UCL and has over 50 peer-reviewed publications in leading journals, with 22 in the last five years.