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UCL Energy Institute

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Buildings

The Buildings Team at the UCL Energy Institute has an international reputation for original, high-quality research.

Our work can be divided into 4 broad topics:

  • domestic buildings
  • non-domestic buildings
  • smart energy (aka demand-side management)
  • district-level heating

We look at these through a range of different lenses:

  • energy epidemiology concerns the pulling-together of data sets to gain fresh insights into the energy consumption across the entire built environment
  • building physics (or physical monitoring) allows us to interpret the epidemiology
  • socio-technical systems, which combine monitoring and data with the social sciences, look at how behaviour affects energy consumption

The Building Team has initiated the discussion among policy-making and research communities about the necessity of a comprehensive data framework for buildings and energy use. And with Loughborough University, we’ve set up a £5.8 million EPSRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand Reduction in the Built Environment.

Projects

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
  • customer engagement

FLASH: Facilitation, learning and sharing

This 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 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

Carbon Buzz is the result of joined-up thinking by 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, and the 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 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 online 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

UKERC 2

The team at UCL-Energy leads the UK Energy Research Centre's systems theme, which builds and runs 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 (LoLo) EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand (CDT)

The LoLo CDT is the premier UK centre for energy demand in the built environment doctoral training. Its aim is to help deliver deep reductions in CO2 emissions by 2050 through an innovative, multidisciplinary, high impact research and training programme

RCUK Centre for Energy Epidemiology (CEE)

The Research Councils UK (RCUK) Centre for Energy Epidemiology (CEE) studies energy demand from transport and the built environment, and develops a new path for energy-demand research

Carbon, Control and Comfort

The project engages users in the design of control systems to encourage the use of technology and fabric of their homes more effectively.

Centenary Quay Project

This project measures the energy performance of new environmentally friendly dwellings. It’s organised and funded by the Technology Strategy Board and is a partnership study between Crest Nicholson and UCL. 

People

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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Send Tadj an email

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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Alex Summerfield - Honorary Lecturer
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Send Alex an email 

Outputs

Top Publications

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. 
Impact

Key finding

  • The first to demonstrate that it’s theoretically possible to reduce the UK’s domestic carbon emission by 60% by 2050, with up to 90% of electricity supplied by renewables if demand side measures are deployed.
  • Along with Leeds Metropolitan University, we’ve produced one of the most significant demand side reduction research discoveries in recent years – that party walls can lose more heat than external walls. This was 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 domestic energy price elasticity by geographic region and income for the first time.
  • Quantifying the scale of mismatch between theoretical energy performance of buildings, their energy efficient components and actual performance.
  • Quantifying the potential health improvements from improving 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 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 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 socioeconomics 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.