News Release

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

Grant and Award Announcement

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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.

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:

Project University Principal Investigator
Future-proofing facilities management (Future FM )
This project will address how big data can help facilities managers deliver future proofed energy efficiency improvements.
Imperial College London

Professor John Polak
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
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 Edinburgh

Dr Nigel Goddard
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.
University of Oxford Professor Peter Grindrod
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
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
023 8059 2442

Notes for Editors:

For further press information please contact the EPSRC Press Office on telephone: 01793 444404 or email:

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800m a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

The Research Councils UK (RCUK) Energy Programme The Research Councils UK Energy Programme led by EPSRC aims to position the UK to meet its energy and environmental targets and policy goals through world-class research and training. The Energy programme is investing more than £625 million in research and skills to pioneer a low carbon future. This builds on an investment of £839 million over the past eight years.

The Energy Programme brings together the work of EPSRC and that of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.