The primary focus of the Institute is research. A particular strength is the application of state-of-the-art computer-based simulation and analyses methods for predicting the energy and environmental performance of buildings.
Recent substantial funding will enable collection of field data to establish the in-use performance of buildings. Work to understand the personal and social factors influencing energy use and the acceptability of energy technologies is expanding rapidly. Studies to assist local and regional policy makers in reducing greenhouse gas emissions are important, and the environmental quality of urban spaces and their social value is of current interest.
Latest research successes have been based on the multi-disciplinary perspective of Sustainable Urban Development. The Institute has been playing an important role in key UK and European research groupings, including:
KAP – Knowledge (of past performance, combined with) Awareness (of the present state, can support) Prediction (of future outcomes) (EU FP7, €12.8m, 2010-2015) - to kick-off, soon.
CCC – Carbon, Control and Comfort: User-centred control systems for comfort, carbon saving and energy management (EPSRC, £2.13m, 2009-2012)
4M – Measurement, Modelling, Mapping and Management: An Evidence-Based Methodology for Understanding and Shrinking the Urban Carbon Footprint (EPSRC, £2.55m, 2008-2012) - http://www.4mfootprint.org/
CITYNET – EU Marie Curie Actions Research Training Network (EU FP6, €2.0m, 2006-2010) - http://citynet.zafh.net/
CaRB – Carbon Reduction in Buildings Consortium (EPSRC / Carbon Trust / ESRC, £3m, 2004-2009, leading partner) - http://www.carb.org.uk/
TarBase – Technology Assessment for Radically Improving the Built Asset Base (EPSRC / Carbon Trust / ESRC, £1.42m, 2004-2009) - http://www.sbe.hw.ac.uk/hostedsites/tarbase/
CityForm – the Sustainable Urban Form Consortium (EPSRC, £1.88m, 2003-2007) - http://www.city-form.org/