UCL Energy Institute


Tia Kansara

Achieving Zero Carbon Zero Waste

Developing a city in the desert has led Abu Dhabi to depend heavily on energy, both to desalinate water and to maintain the growing population. This energy is used mostly in the urban environment. Tia is working closely with the Abu Dhabi government on creating a baseline for energy consumption in the built environment. The aim of her research is to develop a strategy to reduce energy whilst establishing a rating method for the existing built form.

The new-build rating system currently utilised by the Municipality and Urban Planning Council (UPC) is called the Pearl Rating System. It was introduced in 2010 by the UPC Estidama team. Although a good starting point to tackle future energy shortage, it does not cater to reduce and set limits to the existing building stock. Thus, this research aims to inform future energy policy by providing the foundation of a baseline for analysing energy consumption.


Tia is the founder and director of Kansara Hackney Ltd., a partnership with Dr Rod Hackney (Past President: Royal Institute of British Architects). KH are a firm of leading specialists in sustainable design and implementation for the future generation of private and commercial clients.

Tia has presented at the World Health Platform, McGill University; Indian School of Structure and Planning with the prestigious architect Mr Jai Bhalla; and Musashi Institute of Technology with the Vice President of the Japanese Institute of Architects. Tia has lead her own workshops at the Biennale in both Costa Rica and Cuba under the patronage of the UIA as well as the Archibhat in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire sponsored by the Mayor of Cocody. She has presented her work at the Royal Geographic Society, ARUP and the European Parliament on the future of cities.

She has advised the Mayor of Amman on Amman Institute; United Nations Habitat in Hue, Vietnam with the BSHF, and recently advised the largest bank in Saudi Arabia, SAMBA (Saudi American Bank) on designing a LEED Platinum rated headquarters in Riyadh.

Tia has worked alongside Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and an international architectural firm, Fosters and Partners, to research the future design of sustainable cities. At present she is collaborating with the Urban Planning Council, the Executive Affairs Authority and 22 members of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group to create the first energy baseline and comprehensive post occupancy evaluation in the United Arab Emirates.

Tia was invited to advise the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, BioTrade Initiative on sustainable development. Along with the Club of Rome she advised the Royal family in Bhutan on the next stage of economic development away from fossil fuels. 

Publications and other work