EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand (LoLo)

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Bartlett Sch of Env, Energy & Resources

Abstract

Addressing climate change through reducing carbon emissions is a crucial international goal. End use energy demand (EUED) reduction is essential for the UK to meet its legally binding 80% carbon reduction target and has significant economic and social benefits: it lowers the operating costs of businesses, increasing their competitiveness, and reduces the fuel bills for home owners, guarding against fuel poverty and improving quality of life.

Government, industry and academia recognise the importance of EUED reduction and are responding by developing new policies, products and services. However, there is a shortage of highly trained individuals who will spearhead these initiatives. Recognising this, the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) has identified EUED in buildings, transport and industry as a priority funding area for the development of a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT).

For the last 4 years, the UCL Energy Institute and the School of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough, have run a successful CDT: the London-Loughborough Centre for Doctoral Research in Energy Demand (LoLo). The Centre is seeking funding for a further 8 years to train 60 students. The scope will be expanded beyond buildings to include energy demand in transport and industry directly related to the built environment.

The new Centre will build on the existing four year programme: a one year Masters of Research in Energy Demand followed by a three year PhD. Training will be enhanced by an annual colloquium; international summer school; team building away days; seminar series'; creativity, communication and business training; and numerous other activities. Students will undertake placements with partners and in relevant overseas organisations. They will have a firm grounding in core skills and knowledge, but appreciate the multi-disciplinary perspective needed to understand the technical, economic and social factors that shape energy demand.

The Centre's research will address new challenges within five themes, grouped around major research programmes: technology and systems, energy epidemiology, urban scale energy demand, building performance and process, and unintended consequences. This linkage ensures students' work gains momentum, is at the forefront of knowledge, has excellent resources, and is supported by a wide group of world class academics.

The Centre will again be led by Profs Lowe and Lomas; together they have over 60 years of experience in energy and buildings. They will be supported by Academic Managers and Administrators and over 40 academic supervisors whose expertise spans the full range of disciplines necessary for EUED research: from science and engineering to ergonomics and design, psychology and sociology through to economics and politics.

An Advisory Board will help steer the Centre, whilst the wider group of 26 partners, representing policy, industry, academia and NGO interests, will aid students' training by: developing projects, offering mentoring, hosting students in their organisation, giving workshops and seminars, and direct funding.

The proposed new Centre represents excellent value for money. The total cost to the EPSRC to train 60 students is less than the current Centre cost to train 40 students. However, the funding per student will rise by 20%, a result of the financial commitment of our partners and host institutions.

The Centre aims to have an enduring impact through our graduates and their research. Short term impact will be achieved through students' engagement with industry, policy makers, NGOs and academia through the annual Colloquium, the international summer school, publications, the web-site and other social media, working with partners and through public engagement. In the long term our graduates will help transform the EUED sector through projects they lead, the students and colleagues they will train and the organisations they influence.

Planned Impact

Energy demand reduction brings global benefits through reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and national benefits through the conservation of precious fuel resources, which improves energy security. Reductions in fuel use enhance the economic competitiveness of virtually all UK businesses. The need for new energy technologies and techniques will lead to the creation of new businesses and sustain and expand those already in the field. More affordable warmth increases the disposable income of households and can improve the internal environment in less energy efficient homes, with resulting health and well-being benefits, especially for those on low income.

The LoLo Centre for Doctoral Research will train 60 plus students, who will enhance the research capacity, knowledge and skills of businesses and organisations through the work they undertake and their research outputs. In the long term, they will go on to take up leadership roles in the many, policy, business and voluntary organisations working to reduce energy demand worldwide.

The Centre's students and graduates will have the expertise, contextual understanding and knowledge that will bring benefits to many organisations, including:
- national and local governmental organisations that are developing evidence-based energy demand reduction policies, which are affordable and socially acceptable while avoiding unintended and negative consequences.
- consultancies that advise on the energy efficient design of new buildings and the refurbishment and remodelling of existing domestic and non-domestic premises.
- energy supply and services companies that are charged with delivering a reliable supply, controlling energy bills and deploying energy efficiency products.
- building contractors that will develop new approaches to refurbishing homes and businesses at scale through the reconfiguration of supply chains and the creation of new techniques and methods of working.
- facilities managers, especially those in large organisations such as retail giants, the NHS, and education, that are charged with reducing energy demand to meet legally binding and organisational targets.
- technology companies, whether new or existing, which are developing new ventilation technologies, smart heating systems, digital controls, etc.
- manufacturers making energy demand reduction technologies, such as insulation products, heating and cooling equipment and renewable energy generators etc.
- NGOs and charities responsible for promoting, enabling and effecting energy demand reduction schemes.

The work of these organisations will, in turn, benefit all citizens who will enjoy more comfortable and healthier homes and places of work at lower cost.

The knowledge of our LoLo students benefits these organisations in both the long and short term. Students will bring a broad awareness of the interaction between the individual elements of the whole energy system, the impact of the various components on energy demand, and the likely positive and unintended energy, economic and social consequences of change. They will have the required modelling skills and an understanding of construction process, management and logistics. They will be able to devise experiments and conduct valid measurements in the laboratory and in the field, and be able to represent, analyse and interpret data from both large-scale (e.g. national) campaigns and small-scale (e.g. forensic) investigations. They will also understand the value of energy management and the role of smart, digital technologies.

Our students will also appreciate the legal frameworks, regulations, guidelines and targets that shape and drive all activity in the energy demand sector and develop excellent communication and interpersonal skills. In summary, LoLo students will be confident, committed and enthusiastic leaders able to bring numerous benefits to many different organisations and to citizens throughout the UK and beyond.

Publications


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