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Prof David Fisk Delivers 6th Bowman Memorial Lecture

bowThis year's Bowman Memorial Lecture was given by Prof David Fisk CB FREng, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and BP/Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Engineering for Sustainable Development at Imperial College for the 6th Bowman Memorial Lecture.

The Bowman Memorial Lectures are held each year in memory of Neil Bowman who established the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development in 1994 to pursue research, teaching and consultancy within a vibrant multi-disciplinary environment.

Prof David Fisk with Institute Director Kevin Lomas and Richard Tinson, former Institute Advisory Panel Chair

Prof Fisk, in a talk entitled 'Energy Efficiency - Rethinking From Basics', challenged conventional thinking by arguing that the way energy efficiency is promoted must be turned on its head. Contrary to economic theory, people do not always act so as to minimise costs and maximise benefits. People are too busy with their daily lives to contemplate every decision in depth and so instead follow established scripts, or narratives. Applying this 'narrative theory', Professor Fisk argued that the concept of energy efficiency must be re-branded as something that people aspire to. For example, to include low-energy light bulbs as standard fittings in prestige homes may be more useful than the common practice of giving them away free at energy advice centres.

Institute Director Prof Kevin Lomas said "David is always engaging and informative. He has a particular knack of opening up new ways of looking at the problem of sustainable development and doing so authoritatively but with a touch of humour." The large audience in DMU's low-energy Queens Building on 1 November appeared to agree.

Previous Bowman Memorial Lectures have been delivered by Dr Mary Archer, Chairman of the National Energy Foundation; Prof Pat O'Sullivan, Chair of Environmental Design and Engineering, University College London; Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute Colorado, USA; Jonathon Porritt CBE, Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission and Programme Director of Forum for the Future; and Prof Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency.

November 2005

IESD Success: New Renewable Energy 'NIMBY' Research

A three-year IESD project will be featured at the inaugural Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Energy Research Summit in London on 1 November. Entitled "Beyond "NIMBYism": a multidisciplinary investigation of public engagement with renewable energy technologies" the project will be undertaken by an eight-person multidisciplinary team at Lancaster, Loughborough, Northumbria and Surrey Universities, and has been awarded £500k by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of the Research Council's energy programme.

The research will look at factors influencing the "Not In My Back Yard" response to renewable energy technologies such as onshore and offshore wind turbines, biomass power plant, large-scale solar panels and prototype ocean technologies.

The project aims to produce novel insights into how public engagement in renewable energy development is currently practised in the UK, as well as a framework to guide future public engagement practice which will be disseminated to a range of stakeholders including industry, policy makers, advocacy groups and the public through a project website and publications.

Principal Investigator Dr Patrick Devine-Wright said: "We need to better understand the reasons why renewable energy projects in the UK frequently lead to local controversy and antagonism between members of the public and other stakeholders including developers, local authorities and regional bodies. Through systematic, multi-disciplinary research and case studies of public engagement in renewable energy projects, this research will enable us to better understand the determinants of public perceptions, manage uncertainty in renewables development, and help contribute to government targets for increasing the amount of electricity generated by renewable energy resources."

November 2005

ApIESD Research Student Wins Overseas Poster Competition

IESD research student Agnieszka Psikuta won the research poster competition of the 1st PhD Symposium of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA) held on October 20th 2005 in Dübendorf, Switzerland. Around 100 PhD students participated in the competition, and Agnes received by far the most votes.

The symposium covered a very wide range of topics related to applied material science research including Methods and Applications in Nanotechnology, Adaptive Material Systems, Healthy Human, Technosphere - Atmosphere, and Materials for Energy Technologies. Agnes was awarded first prize for her poster 'Artificial Human for Clothing Research' which was submitted in the category 'Healthy Human'.


Supervised by Dr Fiala at IESD and Dr. Richards at EMPA, Agnes' PhD research focuses on developing a 'thermo-physiologically intelligent', computer controlled manikin. This 'artificial human' will be able to move, sweat, regulate its body temperature, 'feel' and respond to the thermal environment as real humans do. The 'artificial human' will enable complex tests of the protective properties of clothing to be carried out under realistic transient conditions to which humans are exposed both indoors and outdoors.

October 2005

Dreamtime Fellowship Award

A Research Fellow at IESD has been awarded a prestigious Dreamtime Fellowship. Melody Stokes is one of 15 people in England paid by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) to pursue her dream project for a year.

Melody has just completed a PhD in energy modelling at IESD and is delighted with the award. The 48-year-old mother-of-two will be combining her background in mechanical engineering and her work on energy patterns to understand how and why we think and feel the way we do.

As a Mechanical Engineer with a long career at Lotus Cars where she worked on ways of reducing noise and vibration, Melody knows all about finding answers to problems: "I want this to be a proper explanation of life from a scientific point of view. I'm an engineer. And engineers are essentially practical people. We like to put things in order."

Her fascination in understanding what makes us tick came from an unexpected collision of her professional research and family life. While working for her PhD on patterns of electricity demand, she received a call from her son's school teacher, concerned about his unpredictable behaviour in the classroom. "I've always been interested in how people think and feel, and I was trying to work out my son's pattern of behaviour and the things which might cause him to react in certain ways," said Melody. So Melody began researching the subject in her spare time, and now the Dream Time Fellowship means she can pursue this work full-time for a year and then go back to her work with IESD.

Prof Kevin Lomas, Director of the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, said: "We are delighted Melody is able to take time out to follow her own research which will utilise some of the energy modelling skills she has developed here and apply them to this intriguing subject." 

May 2005

IESD Leads Carbon Reduction in Buildings (CaRB) project

Professor Kevin Lomas, Director of the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, is Principal Investigator for the four year, £3.1m, Carbon Reduction in Buildings (CaRB) project being undertaken by a consortium of universities, government and commercial partners.

Professor Lomas said: "It is critical that ways are found to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from residential and business properties in the UK. The CaRB project will be a fundamental part of helping the UK to create a low-carbon future." Cutting the UK's carbon dioxide emissions to 60% of 1990 levels by the year 2050 is a major UK Government objective and a key part of that reduction must be met by lowering emissions from existing buildings.

CaRB research will be carried out by five partner Universities: De Montfort, Reading, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Sheffield and University College London. They aim to create an innovative socio-technical model of energy use that will predict carbon emissions from the UK's residential and commercial properties. A longitudinal study of energy use in homes will be set up, hundreds of houses will be surveyed, the number and age of their occupants established, and energy usage monitored. These data will enable the consequences of implementing energy efficiency initiatives and renewable energy technologies to be determined.

Three Research Fellows are being recruited to IESD to assist with the project. Consumption of gas, electricity and water is being monitored in around 200 Leicester City Council-owned non-domestic buildings. The data will be used:

  • To build an energy model for non-domestic buildings, which is simple to use, reliable in its predictions and reflects building size/use and occupancy;
  • To build a model of domestic energy use that can be interfaced with a socio-technical model of occupant behaviour to explore occupant interactions and potential energy savings.

Funding for CaRB is provided by the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), The Carbon Trust, and the ESRC (Economic and Social
research Council) under the Carbon Vision Initiative. 

April 2005

House of Lords Visit

Members of the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee visited IESD on Monday 21 February to learn about some of the research being carried out and to be given a tour of the award-winning Queens Building, where the Institute is based.

The visit was organised by Leicester City Council following a request by members of the Committee who are carrying out an inquiry into energy efficiency.

During their tour of the Institute, the group heard about schemes including the Braunstone Solar Streets Project, which looks at the cultural impact solar energy can have on a community, and work that is currently being carried out into reducing the need for air conditioning in buildings.

The group was also briefed on the Institute's two MSc courses: Climate Change and Sustainable Development; and Energy and Sustainable Building Design. Leicester City Council's Better Building Officer, Alan Gledhill, who also met with the Lords, is an MSc student with IESD.

Assistant Director and MSc Course Leader Professor Paul Fleming said: "During their visit the group will see examples of different initiatives in Leicester which The Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development is involved with. They will discover how we can help people create buildings that are energy efficient and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the process. The Queens Building is a good example of a low energy building and it is one of Europe's largest naturally lit and ventilated buildings." 

February 2005

CIBSE Conference Award for Research Student

Yingchun Ji, a PhD student with the Institute has won a prize at a national building services engineering conference.

Yingchun is currently working on a research project that aims to reduce the need for air conditioning in buildings through the use of natural ventilation. Along with his supervisor, Senior Research Fellow Dr Malcolm Cook, Yingchun hosted a stand at the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) annual conference, held in London this month.

Yingchun created a poster for the event demonstrating how natural ventilation can be applied in building design and how computer models can be used to help in the design process. Yingchun's display received the award for best poster and he received a signed copy of Faber and Kell's 'Heating and Air-Conditioning of Buildings' as his prize.

Yingchun said: "Many of the people who made the other posters were quite experienced so I was pleased to have won. Dr Malcolm Cook has given me a lot of support on the project and I'm very grateful to him."

Yingchun obtained his first degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Beijing and worked in engineering in China for a further four years before coming to IESD.

October 2004

Royal Visitor to Institute

dukeHRH The Duke of Gloucester visited the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development on 13 October 2004 as part of a visit to De Montfort University to see the Queens building in which the Institute is located. The Queens building was opened in 1993 by Queen Elizabeth II, to whom The Duke is first cousin.

The Duke is noted for maintaining a keen interest in architecture and is corporate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and commissioner of the Historic Building and Monuments Commission for England (English Heritage).

The Queens building is an architectural icon appearing in numerous architecture books and voted HVCA Green building of the year in 1995. The refurbished mechatronics laboratory which is now home to the Institute is a magnificent daylit space and so was one of the areas in the Queens building that the Duke was keen to see.

The visit gave the Duke an opportunity to see the research work of the Institute in the area of energy and sustainable development - a field in which he has a keen interest. The Duke has previously visited the Brocks Hill Environment Centre in South Leicester (Borough of Oadby and Wigston) where he first met Institute Director Professor Kevin Lomas.

The Duke spent around twenty minutes with Professor Lomas looking at a poster display of the Institute's work encompassing not only the design of low energy buildings, but also many aspects of clean and efficient energy use and sustainability in the built environment, including behavioural and psychological research.

The Duke was accompanied by The Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire (The Lady Gretton JP), The High Sheriff of Leicestershire (Mrs F Hussain) and The Lord Mayor of Leicester (Councillor P Singh Clair) as well as staff of the University, including Vice Chancellor Professor Philip Tasker. Professor Lomas joined the Duke and the Vice Chancellor for lunch after the visit.

Of the visit Professor Lomas said "It was an opportunity for the staff of the Institute to present their work and to receive insightful comment from someone with a genuine interest in architecture. Seeing over 30 posters, each presenting a different Institute project, one can appreciate the volume and breadth of the work which we do". 

October 2004

HECA Professionals Recommend Institute MSc

dinnerThe ninth annual Home Energy Conservation Act conference took place in Cardiff, from the 10th to the 11th May 2004. The theme was re-shaping the Home Energy Conservation Act. Most local authorities have peoples work on the home energy conservation Act. They are trying to make homes more energy efficient and provide affordable warmth - making sure that people can afford to heat their homes to a comfortable level. The photograph shows MSc students at the Conference with Baroness Maddock.

A survey of HECA officers has been undertaken by the marker research company "New Perspectives". They have identified the need for professional training as an issue that is preventing HECA officers from fulfilling their full potential. A number of delegates to the conference called for the need to "professionalize" the home energy conservation act officer and for them to have key roles in the proposed new Sustainable Energy Centres that the Energy Saving Trust will be establishing over the next few years.

The outgoing chair of the HECA forum (Don Lack from Leicester City Council) recommended studying the MSc programmes at De Montfort University's Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development as a means of providing the information to help professionalize the industry. He said that studying the MSc in Energy and Sustainable Development back in 1998 greatly helped him with his job. The new chair of HECA forum (Bruce Pittingale from Fenland District Council in Cambridgeshire) also endorsed the MSc in Climate Change and Sustainable Development at De Montfort University. He is currently studying the MSc Climate Change and Sustainable Development and this has greatly helped him and Fenland Council.

A number of other delegates currently studying the MSc highlighted how the course had helped them in their job and in their career prospects, for example:

  • Denise Marsdon (Wellingborough Borough Council) used the course to help her develop a climate change strategy;
  • George Munson (London Borough of Hillingdon) said that the MSc helped him secure a new job with Yorkshire Forward;
  • Colin Anderson (London Borough of Southwark) described how the MSc has helped him secure a new job with Plymouth City Council;
  • David Colbourne (Sefton Borough Council) described how the MSc course material helped him move jobs within the Liverpool area.

A number of courses currently exist for HECA officers, but they tend to be City and Guilds Energy Advice or one day CPD courses. The MSc programmes at De Montfort University allows a higher level of study and is very flexible. Students can study the whole MSc, or just one module. This provides officers dealing with energy efficiency and renewable energy material to help them improve the delivery of their jobs, as well as leading to post graduate qualification.

For more information on how the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development teaching programmes can help your local authority contact Professor Paul Fleming.

May 2004

Judson College

IESD is to provide design expertise for a new library and academic centre for which $7.5 million was recently approved by US Congress: The Harm A. Weber Library and Academic Center at Judson College, Elgin, Illinois. IESD will work with Architects Short and Associates, who won an international contest for the design. The building, which has been described as "one of the most energy-efficient facilities in the US", is inspired by the Queens Building in which IESD is situated. Features include use of natural light, natural ventilation and thermal mass together with careful attention to the client's needs. Construction is expected to begin next year, with completion around summer 2006.

Further information

March 2004

Project of the year: Building Services Awards 2003 Winner

Lighthouse: Poole Arts Centre is the UK's largest arts centre outside London. Built in 1970 it includes a 1400 seat concert hall with moveable floor; a 650-seat theatre; 110-seat cinema; art gallery; foyer and back-of-house spaces. The refurbishment challenge was to provide environmentally friendly heating and cooling. Low running costs were also important.

The IESD were involved early on in the design process to assist in the design of the natural ventilation strategy. This involved sizing and positioning of the natural ventilation openings to ensure an adequate supply of fresh air and as much summertime ventilation cooling as possible.

September 2003

Naturally Ventilated Theatre Opens

Lichfield Garrick Theatre opens on Friday 27 June with a dress rehearsal of 'Hold Tight, It's 60's Night!' The £5.5m Garrick is one of only two naturally ventilated theatres in existence, and has received an M4I 'Movement for Innovation' construction award.

In collaboration with Short & Associates, the Institute undertook detailed CFD airflow simulations to propose and assess a buoyancy-driven displacement ventilation strategy for the theatre which would deliver sufficient fresh air and maintain comfortable temperatures for occupants - particularly challenging for the main auditorium owing to the constrained site and high internal gains of 110kW.

See: Lichfield Garrick Theatre

Contact: Malcolm Cook

June 2003

Urban Modelling Research Highlighted by EPSRC

An irradiation mapping project undertaken by John Mardaljevic of the IESD has been selected to feature in the EPSRC Research Highlights portfolio. The Research Highlights portfolio selects, from the thousands of research grants awarded each year, projects that "reflect the excellence, vigour and excitement of the science in the EPSRC disciplines and the contribution to a number of industrial sectors". Glenys France of EPSRC explains that the aim is "to give our science the high profile it deserves, to make it understandable to the public and try to convey its importance and excitement. We need to convince opinion formers of the necessity of funding this research and to do this we highlight our successes".

The project has developed a new simulation approach called ICUE (Irradiation mapping for Complex Urban Environments). This uses advanced modelling and data-visualisation techniques to generate `maps' (i.e. false-colour images) of annual/monthly irradiation incident on building facades in dense urban settings. The 'maps' can be used to identify facades with high total annual irradiation as candidates for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). More generally, ICUE could be used to investigate the relationship between building form and the irradiation micro-climate.

This work also features in the Antenna Climate Change Exhibition at the Science Museum, London.


EPSRC Research Highlights

London Science Museum 


John Mardaljevic

February 2003

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