UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


UCL hosts the CIBSE ASHRAE 40th Anniversary Seminar

21 October 2016

The CIBSE ASHRAE 40th Anniversary Seminar on October 12th 2016 was hosted by the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (UCL IEDE), at University College London (UCL).


It was a rare opportunity to hear from leading experts from both CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) and ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, & AC Engineering), as well as UCL IEDE, who discussed how the latest research, building upon a long history of professional and academic engagement, could help us future-proof the designer’s profession and its contribution to a more sustainable built environment, in terms of environmental performance, health and wellbeing. The event was a celebration of the long-standing relationship between ASHRAE and CIBSE – as well as an opportunity to hear about the role played by experts at the UCL IEDE.  

Prof Tadj Oreszczyn, CIBSE Vice President and Director of the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources which hosts UCL IEDE, opened the event and highlighted the pioneering interdisciplinary research methods being developed at UCL. The first session of the seminar was chaired by Professor of Building Services Systems UCL IEDE and CIBSE ASHRAE Group Chair Tim Dwyer, who provided a brief history of CIBSE and ASHRAE and successfully linked the presentations to each other which led to a very fruitful question and answer session.

Tim Wentz, President of ASHRAE, gave details of a course developed by the University of Nebraska, which aimed to provide students with the necessary skills to produce energy efficient buildings by using an ASHRAE’s energy management tool. ASHRAE are the world leading building engineering professional body focusing on environmental design and engineering.

Dr Sung Min Hong, from UCL IEDE, provided an example of the productive and long standing links with CIBSE, by outlining details of the CIBSE/ UCL Benchmarking project, which includes a critical analysis of the latest approaches for benchmarking the operational energy performance of non-domestic buildings.

One of the main themes arising from the seminar was the need for embedding professional skills which were not traditionally considered essential. For example, Emilia Targonska from Hoare Lea highlighted the value of communication skills for the building services profession, and discussed how helping young generations developing a passion for engineering is critical at the moment.

Dr Ucci, UCL IEDE Senior Lecturer, talked about the links between health, comfort and wellbeing in buildings. She argued that it is important to embed within industry and professional practice an integrated design approach, to help promote robust and resilient design that will take into account mental, social and physical health, wellbeing and productivity. This new approach was seen as necessary to help teach key soft skills and also make engineering more appealing to potential students. To this end, UCL IEDE is launching a new MSc on Health Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings that aims to create a new generation of experts who can innovatively tackle health and wellbeing in the design, assessment, retrofit and operation of residential and non-domestic sustainable buildings. Finally, Frank Mills discussed aspects of cold climate design and how thinking about engineering solutions across different scale can help address the most disparate and critical challenges.

CIBSE President John Field concluded the sessions, giving a very helpful and comprehensive summary at the end of the event highlighting key take home messages from each of the speakers.

PDFs of the slides are available here. Some aspects discussed during this event will also be addressed in an upcoming event on Health Wellbeing and Productivity in Non-Domestic Buildings organised by the UCL IEDE, CIBSE Natural Ventilation Group and CIBSE Home Counties SE, that will take place on UCL premises on the 8th of November.