New research aims to improve energy efficiency, cut costs and carbon emissions

12 August 2014

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 that aim to gain a fuller understanding of how energy is managed in the country’s non-domestic buildings are launched today.

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. One fo the projest funded will be led by Dr Nigel Goddard at the University of Edinburgh.
 
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.
 
Professor Philip Nelson EPSRC’s Chief Executive said: “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.”
 
The new projects will be run at Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, University of Oxford, University of Southampton and the University of Strathclyde.
 
A list of the funded projects follows:

University of Edinburgh

Dr Nigel Goddard
nigel.goddard@ed.ac.uk 
0131 651 3091
Working with Information, Creation of Knowledge, and Energy strategy Deployment (WICKED) in Non-Domestic Buildings
This project will aim to provide insight into the inter-relationship between the technical, legal, and organisational challenges involved in improving energy performance in the retail sector, for both small and large organisations.

Imperial College London
Professor John Polak
j.polak@imperial.ac.uk 
020 7594 6089
B-bem: The Bayesian building energy management Portal
 
This project will develop and recommend a new approach to performing uncertainty analysis as well as the display and interpretation of uncertainty in energy management of non-domestic buildings.
 
University of Cambridge
Dr Ruchi Choudhary
r.choudhary@eng.cam.ac.uk 
01223 332689
 
Data-Driven Sociotechnical Energy Management in Public Sector Buildings
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.

University of Oxford
Professor Peter Grindrod
Peter.Grindrod@maths.ox.ac.uk 
01865 270160
Pervasive sensing for collaborative facilities management
This project will explore the use of sensors to capture data on environmental conditions, occupant behaviour and personalised energy use and
map this information to support negotiations between occupants and facilities managers.
 
University of Strathclyde
 
Professor Joseph Andrew
Clarke
 
joe@esru.strath.ac.uk
0141 548 3986
Aperio: low cost façade management in naturally ventilated buildings
This project will examine how external digital cameras can be used to monitor how windows blinds and lighting are used and how occupants’ needs, such as privacy, comfort and security can be balanced with energy management.
 
University of Southampton
 
Dr Patrick James
paj1@soton.ac.uk
023 8059 2442