Against a world backdrop of increased concerns about energy security, price fluctuations and, of course, the need to address climate change, six new research projects, including one at the School of Informatics, are launched today which aim to gain a fuller understanding of how energy is managed in the country's non- domestic buildings.
Funded with £3 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), on behalf of the Research Councils UK Energy Programme (RCUKEP), the research will address how to use technology, data and information, mathematics, law and sociology to create better energy strategies and behaviours in the public and private, non-domestic buildings stock.
Non-domestic buildings such as offices, supermarkets, hospitals and factories account for approximately 18 per cent of UK carbon emissions and 13 per cent of final energy consumption.
By 2050, the total UK’s non-domestic floor area is expected to increase by 35 per cent, while 60 per cent of existing buildings will still be in use. This means that substantial retro-fitting is likely and planning what techniques to use to save energy, , as well as how to implement change with the cooperation of building occupants, is going to be essential.
Dr Nigel Goddard, Director of the Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation, at the School of Informatics will lead the "Data-Driven Sociotechnical Energy Management in Public Sector Buildings" Project. This project will aim to construct a feedback loop to give information to building managers and occupants on their energy consumption, the activities using energy, and how much for each one, with suggestions on how to reduce energy expenditure and use.
Improving energy efficiency is an important piece of the energy puzzle. Worldwide energy demand is rising, as are global temperatures and sea levels. We need to find smart solutions to how we use energy while improving the environment in which people have to work, rest or play. These projects will go a long way to help improve our understanding of what goes on in non-domestic buildings and add to the armoury at the disposal of those managing these facilities.