Energy and Behaviour

It is becoming clear that the the way people live their lives, including the way they inhabit buildings, makes a substantial difference to their energy use. Households of similar sizes and compositions living in homes of similar design and with similar infrastructures can have very different ways of living for all sorts of habitual, cultural and aesthetic reasons. This has implications for potential energy efficiency interventions and for the modelling of future energy demand. The same is true of non-domestic energy use where sensitivity to price (for example) is known to vary over time as contextual factors interplay. SERG’s research in this area concentrates on understanding and modelling behavioural aspects of energy use including potential rebound effects.


This ESRC-funded 4 year year study is assessing the impact of community greening groups on a roll out program insulation upgrades in privately owned housing. The aims of the project which is a collaborative study between researchers of the School of Social Sciences and Civil & Environmental Engineering are to: Examine whether community action on climate […]


This project seeks to apply novel artificial intelligence approaches to develop intelligent agents that will enable domestic consumers to visualise, understand and manage their energy use. It is a three year EPSRC project (EP/I000143/1), which started in October 2010, within the ‘Transforming Energy Demand through Digital Innovation’ call. The project brings together expertise in artificial […]


Residential grid connected PV systems are relatively simple to design with easy to predict annual yields. However, the headline economics of residential PV in the UK are at present unattractive. A typical small residential PV system (1 to 3 kWp) as shown in the top figure would cost in the year 2000 around £4,500 per […]


Bar chart showing user contentment before and after atrium installation in office space

Further occupant surveys conducted by the group have shown that compromising one aspect of the indoor comfort conditions can lead to a perceived compromising of all other measures of indoor comfort. A survey conducted in June 2005 inside existing offices adjacent to the PV atrium (c in Figure 1) reveiled a significantly worse perception of indoor […]


Carbon dioxide monitoring data

The carbon dioxide concentration levels normally observed in indoor environments range from 350 to 2,500 ppm and are typically between 500 and 1,500 ppm. Current literature suggests that a building’s carbon dioxide concentration can be seen as an indicator for both volatile organic component (VOC) concentration and general indoor air quality. However, the potential to […]


PV facade leading to internal gain

The question of how to qualify and quantify good building performance is not trivial to answer. A well performing building from a carbon footprint perspective may not automatically be well performing in terms of occupant satisfaction (Figure 1). Similarly building performance may be understood quite differently by different groups of building users as ‘performance’ can […]


Office thermal camera survey image

The group’s research has highlighted that at present environmental control facilities are often not correctly applied, or more usually, incorrectly used due to their complexity or unintuitive mode of operation. It has been shown that there is often lack of interaction between users and their buildings. Façade interaction studies of an office building highlighted rather […]