Study aims to curb buildings’ energy use

University scientists are to help better understand how energy is managed in buildings such as hospitals and offices.

Researchers from the Schools of Informatics, Social and Political Science and Architecture and Landscape Architecture are to receive a share of £3 million funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Their project will aim to construct a feedback loop giving building managers and occupants information on their energy consumption.

This will include details of activities that are using energy, and how much, with suggestions on how to reduce energy expenditure and use.

Project series

Worldwide energy demand is rising, as are global temperatures and sea levels. We need to find smart solutions to how we use energy.

Professor Philip NelsonChief Executive, EPSRC

The project is one of six being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, on behalf of the Research Councils UK Energy Programme.

These will address how to use technology, data and information, mathematics, law and sociology to create better energy strategies and behaviours in public and private non-domestic buildings.

Growth sector

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 area of such buildings is expected to increase by 35 per cent, while 60 per cent of existing buildings will still be in use.

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.

Under the scheme, sister projects will be run at Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, Oxford, Southampton and Strathclyde.

By better understanding how energy is used in large buildings, we hope to identify ways to use this more efficiently, without compromising on conditions for those who use the space.

Dr Nigel GoddardProject Principal Investigator, School of Informatics