UCL Energy Institute


International Energy Epidemiology Network launched by UCL-Energy

11 December 2012

International Energy Epidemiology launch group photo

Building on an emerging interest in the analysis of 'big data' relating to energy use in buildings the UCL Energy Institute and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory collaborated to host a workshop on this subject in Berkeley CA on 8th and 9th November. The workshop was part funded by the FCO and was attended by experts from UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and Portugal. In particular the workshop brought together key figures from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, the US Department of Energy and the California Public Utilities Commission. A number of organisations from other countries and the IEA expressed strong interest in the subject of the workshop and requested to be part of any future activities.

Professor Oreszczyn (Director of the UCL Energy Institute) presented an introduction to Energy Epidemiology which explained the origins of Epidemiology in the streets of London in 1854 and illustrated how this field of health research can be mapped onto an equivalent field of energy research. View Professor Oreszczyn's presentation

The workshop heard from several presenters that the reductions in energy demand and carbon emissions expected as a result of historic changes in regulations (codes), the introduction of incentives and advent of new technologies often do not materialise when energy data from the affected population is studied. Studies were reported that provide insights into the reasons for these findings which in turn provide pointers to more effective deployment of regulations, incentives and technologies. However, there remain significant gaps in our understanding of the real impact of such measures and considerably more research is required to support the effective implementation of energy and emission reduction measures in buildings.

At the workshop the UCL Energy Institute announced the establishment of the UK Centre for Energy Epidemiology (CEE) which has been awarded funding of £5.9m for a five year programme develop methods and undertake analysis that will increase understanding of energy use across large populations of buildings. A key component of this award is the establishment of an International Energy Epidemiology Network. The IEEN will build on the foundation of the Berkeley workshop to:

  1. To promote the use of epidemiological methods in the study of energy and environmental performance of buildings to complement more traditional research into physical building performance and energy end use demand as driven by socio-behavioural interaction between people and buildings.
  2. To support the transfer, adaptation and application of methods employed in epidemiological research in the field of medicine, and elsewhere, to research activities in the field of energy and environmental building performance.
  3. To identify, document and provide a central reference to past and current research work in this field.
  4. To identify the range of methods currently in use and develop, over time, a taxonomy of methods.
  5. To register and compare data sets and data types available in different countries and regions around the world.
  6. To examine the potential benefits of this field of research and demonstrate how these benefits compliment other those from other forms of research related to the energy and environmental performance of buildings.
  7. To test the application of this field research with policy makers, decision makers and various stakeholders.

For further information and to join the network please email energy@ucl.ac.uk

Image: International Energy Epidemiology Network Launch attendees