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Research Degrees: Projects

Some examples of projects in each of our five areas of work (see contract research: capabilities) are given here.

Urban Energy Management

Non-Domestic Energy Modelling 

The availability of detailed information about the UK non-domestic building stock is very limited and without such information it is difficult to manage energy consumption or plan for the future. This CaRB project is developing a public-domain non-domestic building energy model.

Investigation of Infotainment Electricity Use in UK Homes 

By 2020 entertainment, information and communication technology (infotainment) is expected to account for around 45 per cent of UK domestic electricity use. This project uses innovative monitoring combined with qualitative social science techniques to understand infotainment use.

Energy Performance Monitoring in Local Authority Buildings

Energy consumption and outside air temperature data collected at high resolution is combined with consumption models to track consumption in Local Authority buildings over a six year period. Information so generated can feed into organisational carbon management strategies as well as supporting building users and energy professionals in managing energy demand.

Identification of Energy Savings in Buildings Using Metered Data

Primary meter electricity and gas short time series data from nearly 300 municipal buildings owned by Leicester City Council are being analysed using a novel approach. Results are being compared to more conventional approaches currently used by energy managers. Preliminary results show that the new approach is effective in identifying potential energy savings in multi-building organisations.

Evaluating Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Policies at Local Level 

The research aims to assist local authorities to measure progress in climate change mitigation by means of a greenhouse gas emission protocol for monitoring emissions at the city scale and to inform the proposed Local Government Performance Framework.

Optimal Piping Design for District Cooling Systems 

District cooling systems may offer significant energy savings in city centre locations. The layout of the piping network is a highly constrained problem for which conventional optimization methods do not work efficiently; this project seeks new, more effective optimization methods.

Sustainable Cities: Determining Indicators of Domestic Energy Consumption 

While the proportion of energy used for domestic space and water heating has remained relatively constant since 1970, that used for lights and appliances has doubled. This project aims to understand these factors and how they relate to the underlying effects of built form.

Driver Exposure to Particulate Matter: Field Study and Time Series Visualisation

A comprehensive field study of driver exposure to particulate matter in urban areas; investigations included analysis of the temporal dynamics and the potential underlying relationships between in-vehicle concentrations and external parameters.

People and Climate Change

Attitudes Towards Climate Change: An Assessment of Interventions

In 2006 DEFRA launched the Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) to which individuals and groups could bid for money to run climate change communications. This study is evaluating three projects funded by the CCF, to provide recommendations for future attitude-change interventions.

The Effectiveness of Communication in Encouraging Sustainable Behaviour 

Tackling climate change will require changes in individuals’ behaviour but there is little agreement on the best way to bring this about. This study draws on three key disciplines – public relations, social marketing and social psychology – in an attempt to fill this knowledge gap.

Social-Psychological Aspects of Low-Income Tenants’ Responses to Solar Photovoltaics 

To date, however, there is little research exploring responses to renewable energy technologies in low-income households and disadvantaged communities. This research attempts to address this gap by investigating perceptions of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in a ‘New Deal for Communities’ area in Leicester.

Psychological and Contextual Influences on Travel-Mode Choice for Commuting 

This project focused on the psychology of travel-mode choice. What motivates people to reduce their car use? What barriers are perceived to using non-car modes? How do psychological motivations interact with context to influence travel behaviour?

The Place of Private Gardens and Public Green Space in Sustainable Cities 

Compact cities are thought to be more sustainable. The need for higher density may however reduce the availability of urban green space which is increasingly recognised as an important component of social and psychological health. This work demonstrates the unique roles that private and public green space play for an urban resident’s sense of belonging.

Reducing Carbon Emissions from Housing Association Stock – the Peabody Trust 

This project aims to identify the conditions under which significant carbon dioxide emission cuts can be made from the existing housing stock of the Peabody Trust, a housing association operating in London.

Reducing Carbon Emissions by Households

Over 40% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions stem from energy use in the home, personal car use and airline flights. This research investigates how households might respond to a system of personal carbon rationing, and in particular what they might do to lower their carbon footprint.

Financial Performance of Socially Responsible Investments 

Socially responsible investment (SRI) is limited in the UK but is the fastest growing investment sector. Many SRI funds incorporate sustainability criteria into their financial decision making. This project examines the financial performance of 13 established SRI funds.

Low and Zero Carbon Energy Technologies (LZCTs)

The Buildability of Photovoltaic Systems

A detailed study of clusters of grid connected PV systems on domestic buildings investigating electricity bill and CO2 emissions savings.

Performance of Regenerative Cooling Systems in a Multi-Use Industrial Building 

This work demonstrates the importance of rigorous commissioning of new and complex energy systems if the benefits of low-energy design are to be realised. Significant energy wastage can occur which will not be picked up by conventional condition monitoring methods.

Hybrid Ground Source Heat Pump Systems 

This study aims to investigate hybrid GSHP systems in the UK buildings, and to optimise the sustained thermal performances of the systems.

Low Energy Buildings

Low Energy Housing at Sherwood Energy Village 

Sherwood Energy Village is a mixed use development on the site of the former Ollerton Colliery, North Nottinghamshire. The research project being undertaken is to work closely with the design team to analyse the processes by which low energy sustainable housing on a large scale is achieved.

Precision Modelling of Solar Shading Devices

A novel approach to the design of window openings and shading devices that combines both dynamic lighting and thermal models.

Optimized Design of Building Services Systems

Investigates the potential of cutting edge optimization methods (evolutionary strategies) used at both the design stage and during plant operation to improve the energy performance of air conditioning plant.

Simulation Systems

Hybrid Approaches to the Design of Non-Residential Buildings in Arid Climates 

Hybrid ventilation is a concept that combines the advantages of both passive and active cooling strategies. In this project detailed building simulation-based design methodologies are used to quantify the benefits of hybrid design in arid climates.

The Human Occupancy Factor in Naturally Ventilated Buildings - Radiation Modelling 

This work explores the local comfort or discomfort experienced by humans due to asymmetric thermal conditions, e.g. solar radiation, cold wall, etc. The effect of posture plays an important role which is not been studied in the literature so far.

HVAC System Energy Demand Coupling with Building Loads for Office Buildings 

The aim of this research is to investigate the possibility of estimating HVAC system energy demand using a minimal number of building and HVAC system parameters for both part load and design conditions.

Experimental Investigation of Heat Exchange between Thermal Mass and Room Environments 

Reliable experimental data for comparisons of CFD calculations and empirical measurements are hard to find. This research programme aims to deal with this shortcoming by a series of experimental exercises undertaken at Biberach University of Applied Sciences, Germany in collaboration with De Montfort University.

Informed Control of Domestic Energy Systems 

The efficiency of both domestic energy consumption and generation can be improved through better information flows within the home, and between the home and national generation and distribution systems. This project also introduces a approach to the human interface of domestic energy systems.

Dynamic Simulation of Human Heat Transfer and Thermal Comfort

A mathematical model of human temperature regulation and thermal comfort to predict human responses to wide-ranging conditions; used to avoid uncomfortable conditions in buildings.

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