UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Outdoor environment

We have a broad range of expertise in relation to the outdoor environment. For example, an important strand of IEDE’s work focusses on the impacts of Urban Heat Islands (UHIs) which describes the increased temperature of urban air compared to the rural surroundings.

Our work has produced new guidance on the measures that can be used to reduce negative aspects of UHIs such as increased summer cooling energy demand and increased summer health risks due to overheating, whilst retaining their beneficial effects: decreased winter heating demand and decreased winter health risks due to reduced exposure to cold.

This landmark body of research also studied factors influencing overheating in dwellings. It provided guidance relating to the relative importance of the location of a dwelling in the UHI versus its intrinsic thermal properties; and the impact of interventions on overheating in dwellings. We are currently working with CIBSE to produce relevant guidance for CIBSE members.

Our work also deals with the mediating effects of building characteristics on the ingress of particulate matter from outdoor sources and its impact on population exposure in the indoor domestic environment. We use building simulation to determine the indoor concentration of outdoor-sourced pollution for different housing types. We then map the results using building stock models and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software to understand the how dwellings effect occupant’s exposure to particulate matter.

We are currently undertaking a study of road lighting for pedestrians where we are trying to work out the aspects of the night time lit environment that are important for pedestrians, this includes work on the following topics: a) what do pedestrians look at, b) how can we provide reassurance to pedestrians, c) at what distance do pedestrians need to recognise the faces of other people.

Click on the links below to view the projects under this theme.