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Current and Completed Research Projects

CIBSE sponsored projects


Revision of the CIBSE Weather Files

Project type: A two-and-a-half year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) in collaboration with University of Exeter

Academic Supervisor: Dr Matt Eames
Start date: May 2022

CIBSE, in collaboration with University of Exeter, has secured Innovate UK funding to revise the CIBSE weather files; this project is now underway.

Impact of COVID-19 on occupant behaviour, indoor air quality and energy use in a large low-carbon apartment block

Project type: Seven-month research in association with UCL
Coordinated by: Dr Farhang Tahmasebi
Start date: July 2020

As Covid-19 lockdown has resulted in extraordinary patterns of home occupancy, this project will benefit from the unique opportunity of previously-installed indoor air quality (IAQ) and window operation monitoring devices in an apartment block and one year worth of data to analyse occupants behaviour and IAQ before and during the lockdown and develop models of window operation and building thermal performance to evaluate the impact of lockdown on households’ indoor air quality and energy use. The project has delivered a paper published at BSER&T:

Home as a place of rest and work: the ideal indoor soundscape during the COVID-19 pandemic

Project type: Seven-month research in association with UCL
Coordinated by: Prof Jian Kang
Start date: July 2020

Due to the COVID outbreak and consequent lockdown situation, home is being experienced as both a place of rest and work. The purpose of the project is to investigate how the acoustic environment and building features affect people’s quality of life and work. The research will get insights into how the stay-home period has changed the acoustic experience at home and inform about people’s expectations in terms of their ideal indoor soundscape while relaxing and working at home. Lessons learned from this lockdown could inform actions to improve the built environment in order to provide high-quality living (and working) home environments beyond this COVID-19 pandemic. The project has delivered a #growyourknowledge webinar and a paper has been submitted for publication at BSER&T.

Determination of Acoustic characteristics of Alternative Ventilation Ducts

Project type: Five-year (part-time) doctorate research in association with LSBU and Imtech
Research Associate: Suzana Zekic
Academic Supervisor: Dr Luis Gomez-Agustina
Start date: September 2019

The project aims to determine the acoustic characteristics of alternative ventilation ducts as used in residential ventilation systems and to embed new guidance within CIBSE resources such as Guide B4.

Investigation into the role of ventilation design and operation on the ingress of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) (and particulate matter (PM)) in city centre offices

Project type: Three-year doctorate research in association with UCL, Cundall and ARUP
Research Associate: Emma Gibbons
Academic Supervisor: Prof Marcella Ucci
Start date: September 2020

The project will carry out monitoring in UK offices to investigate the causes of ambient air pollution ingress and develop mitigation strategies to control NO2. Guidance developed as a result of this project will better inform how building operation and ventilation practices influence indoor concentration of NO2 and other pollutants.

Embodied carbon of building services

Project type: Industry led research
Coordinated by: Elementa Consulting
Start Date: January 2020

CIBSE is collaborating with Elementa Consulting to undertake research into embodied and whole life carbon of building services products and systems in order to address the lack of data availability and that of a consistent methodology. The aim is to facilitate data collection with the support of MEP manufacturers to help build embodied carbon datasets, as well as setting a UK standard methodology for calculating embodied carbon of MEP products and systems when no Environmental Product Declarations are available.

TM65: Embodied carbon of building services methodology, was published in January 2021. The TM65 methodology is quickly becoming a standard in the industry and is being adopted by practitioners, manufacturers and policy. As a result CIBSE, in collaboration with Elementa Consulting, is working on the development and publication of two further guidance documents, TM65.1 Embodied Carbon of Residential Heating Systems and TM65.2 Embodied Carbon of HVAC in Offices, to compliment the TM65 methodology. Based on the data collected as part of the above studies, an embodied carbon of building services database will be developed and further expanded as more data become available.

Assessing overheating in homes – an industry methodology

Project type: Four-year doctorate research in association with UCL (plus one year extension due to COVID-19 delays)
Research Associate: Giorgos Petrou
Academic Supervisor: Prof Mike Davies and Dr Anna Mavrogianni
Start date: September 2017

Homes in the UK already experience overheating, which is expected to increase in the future due to increasing frequency and severity of mean summertime temperatures and extreme heat episodes, as well as increased urbanisation of cities. This risk may potentially be exacerbated by increasing energy efficiency of building design and retrofit standards to reduce national carbon emissions from homes. It is widely agreed that SAP is not suitable for assessing overheating in homes, and a more detailed, dynamic methodology is needed.

CIBSE, working with an industry group of professionals, has developed a methodology which has just been published as CIBSE TM59, Design methodology for the assessment of overheating risk in homes. This TM aims to standardise the assessment of overheating risk and should play a key role in limiting overheating risk in new and refurbished homes. The aim of this project is to use parametric analysis of the UK housing stock to investigate causes of overheating in various domestic typologies and identify the most effective mitigation options.

This project is undertaken by CIBSE and London Loughborough Centre for Doctoral Studies (LoLo CDT) sponsored PhD student based at UCL, Giorgos Petrou.

Giorgos published a paper presenting his analysis in the August 2018 Building Services Engineering Research &Technology (BSER&T):

Giorgos published a paper in the July 2019 BSER&T Journal – Special Issue on overheating that looks at the influence of occupancy patterns in the risk of overheating in homes:

Giorgos also created a simple video on 5 steps for dealing with overheating in homes that got a lot of media attention including a retweet from the GLA:

Energy Benchmarks

Project type: Three-year post doctorate research in association with UCL
Research Associate: Dr Sung-Min Hong
Academic Supervisor: Prof Dejan Mumovic
Start date: July 2015

CIBSE is collaborating with UCL to revise the CIBSE energy benchmarks in Guide F and TM46, and review the methodology used for their production. We are supporting a three-year post-doc research project, which will be carried out by Dr Sung Min. Sung Min’s PhD at UCL was also sponsored by CIBSE, and was a study of the energy benchmarking methodology for school design.

Sung Min analysed the recently released DECCs and data on energy use in schools provided by the Department of Education. The aim is to develop protocols for the collection and analysis of various energy use datasets towards producing and/or updating energy benchmarks. The analysis will also produce building typologies based on their energy use that will further inform the benchmarking process. Sung-Min produced two papers based on the above analysis, one of them presented at the 2018 CIBSE Technical Symposium.

The UCL research team, in collaboration with the Digital Engineering in-house expert at CIBSE and with Cloud Enterprise are currently undertaking the development of an online dynamic platform for the release of the revised energy benchmarks. In its first phase the platform will provide a user interface that could be interrogated by the user in order to provide them with customized information. The platform offers the capability to regularly update the energy benchmarks when new datasets become available. Phases 2 and 3 of the platform development will allow users to input energy data of their buildings and benchmark their energy use against national and regional building stock.

The Energy Benchmarking Tool was presented at the CIBSE Build2Perform Live 2018 event on 27 November where it attracted a lot of interest from CIBSE Members and other attendees. Following the presentation at the B2P the team has also been approached by various non-for-profit organisations that collect building energy and other data, to collaborate in this project and share their data towards further expanding the scope of the platform.

The official launch of phase 1 of the online platform took place at the end of June 2019 and it is now available on the CIBSE website at: The online platform will use energy data as it becomes available to provide relevant and reliable benchmarks that represent the current trends of energy use in buildings.

Latest updates include:

  • June 2021, new domestic energy benchmarks
  • April 2021, new higher education energy benchmarks
  • January 2021, new prison energy benchmarks

The team is currently working on phase 2 of the development of the platform.


Other CIBSE supported projects


Energy efficiency in the hospitality sector 

Project type:  Two doctorate research projects 
Coordinated by: Prof Ali Bahadori-Jahromi, University of West London
Date: September 2015 - September 2021

CIBSE is involved in an advisory role in two PhD research projects sponsored by the Hilton Group to investigate energy efficiency options for their UK stock. This collaboration offers CIBSE access to the hospitality sector and the challenges of trying to meet the MEES – Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard.

Published papers include:

  • Impact of Adding Comfort Cooling Systems on the Energy Consumption and EPC Rating of an Existing UK Hotel, Sustainability, April 2020;
  • Energy Performance and cost analysis for the nZEB retrofit of typical UK hotel, Journal of Building Engineering, April 2020;
  • Impact of Low-E Window Films on Energy Consumption and CO2 Emissions of an Existing UK Hotel Building, Sustainability 11(16), August 2019;
  • Investigating the potential impact of energy efficient measures for retrofitting existing UK hotels to reach the Nearly-Zero Energy Building (nZEB) standard, Energy Efficiency, June 2019; 
  • Impact of cavity extraction fans on thermal and energy performance of existing UK hotel, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability, Volume 172, Issue 2, 1 Apr 2019 (76–86);
  • Optimum Size Selection of CHP Retrofitting in Existing UK Hotel Building, Sustainability 10(6), June 2018;
  • Comparison and Evaluation of the Potential Energy, Carbon Emissions, and Financial Impacts from the Incorporation of CHP and CCHP Systems in Existing UK Hotel Buildings, Energies, 11(5):1219, May 2018;
  • Estimation and Validation of Energy Consumption in UK Existing Hotel Building Using Dynamic Simulation Software, Sustainability 9(8):1391, August 2017;
  • Impact of Window Films on the Overall Energy Consumption of Existing UK Hotel Buildings, Sustainability 5(9):731, May 2017.

Whole life cycle assessment of LIDL supermarkets (2020 – 2024, University of West London and LIDL)

Project type:  Three doctorate research projects 
Coordinated by: Prof Ali Bahadori-Jahromi, University of West London
Date: September 2020 - September 2023

CIBSE is involved in an advisory role in three PhD research projects sponsored by the LIDL UK to investigate the whole life cycle of their UK building stock.

Published papers include:

  • Investigating the Potential Impact of Future Climate Change on UK Supermarket Building Performance, Energy Sustainability, January 2021
  • The role of embodied carbon databases in the accuracy of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) calculations for the embodied carbon of buildings, Sustainability, July 2021

Urban Albedo Calculator

Project type: Research funded by EPSRC
Coordinated by: Kent, Brunel and Loughborough Universities
Date: August 2017 – September 2020

This EPSRC funded research will investigate the seasonal effects of albedo on urban temperature using London as a case-study. Albedo intervention can bring substantial positive effects during the summer while marginal negative effects are expected in winter. In mild climates such a negative effect might out-weigh summer benefits. It is possible that seasonal intervention on the urban fabric could give an overall positive impact but for this, accurate computation of urban albedo is required at urban design or intervention stage. These issues will be investigated in the proposed study which has a two-fold aim; (a) to investigate experimentally the impact of urban fabric on urban albedo and (b) to develop an empirical model to predict changes in urban albedo in relation to changes in urban fabric and solar altitude with a specific focus on advanced materials such as PCM doped cool materials. This aim will be achieved through an extensive experimental study that includes field and laboratory scale measurements followed by the development of an urban albedo calculator that is able to explore seasonal variations. These albedo values could be used to predict the urban heat island with high accuracy.

CIBSE is a member of the steering group of this project.

Other collaborations

ERBE CDT - Dr Anastasia Mylona, CIBSE Head of Research, has been appointed to Chair the Advisory Board of the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment (ERBE), a collaboration between University College London, Loughborough and the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy in Ireland.  This is the third phase of the London/Loughborough (LoLo) CDT originally set up in 2009 by former CIBSE Vice President Prof. Tadj Oreszczyn. (

NERC Clean Air Programme - CIBSE is a partner in one of the successful networks funded by NERC Clean Air programme – ‘The health and equity impacts of climate change mitigation measures on indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure (HEICCAM)’, led by the University of Edinburgh. The aim of HEICCAM is to strengthen evidence to optimise the health and equity impacts of changes in air pollution at the indoor/outdoor interface as we transition to a low carbon future.

CREDS - CIBSE is a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS) which supports research to transform the energy demand landscape.


Completed projects


Achieving Nearly Zero Energy Building Standards in a changing climate

Project type: Three-year doctorate research in association with University of West London
Research Associate: Radwa Salem
Academic Supervisor: Dr Ali Bahadori-Jahromi
Dates: September 2017 - October 2020

The Climate Change Act 2008 commited the UK Government to an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. Reduction of emissions from buildings will significantly contribute to meeting this target. This research defined Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) standards based on current practices, national and international definitions, and investigated whether NZEB buildings can remain operational under future weather conditions.

The CIBSE sponsored PhD student, Radwa Salem, published a paper in the July 2019 Building Services Research and Technology (BSER&T) Journal – Special Issue on overheating: The paper investigates the impacts of a changing climate on overheating risk and energy performance for a UK retirement village adapted to the nZEB standards.

Radwa published the key outputs of her work in a four page article titled "Net Gains" in the February 2020 Issue of the CIBSE Journal:

Radwa’s work was also published as CIBSE Research Insight 03 (RI03). The launch of RI03 was accompanied by a webinar delivered by Radwa, part of the GrowYourKnowledge webinar series, on the 9th July 2020, with 1,500 registrations and 955 attendees.

Radwa completed her PhD viva successfully.

Effects of circadian lighting on health and wellbeing

Project type: Research jointly funded by CIBSE and the BRE Trust
Coordinated by: Dr Paul Littlefair, BRE

This research project jointly funded by CIBSE and BRE Trust, investigated the impacts of cool coloured lighting on occupant comfort. It aimed to find optimal control strategies for circadian lighting to maximise health and wellbeing benefits.

The output of the project’s first stage is a report which provides a review of the existing literature on circadian lighting and how this affects human health and wellbeing. It incorporates findings from a workshop on circadian lighting, held at BRE on 29 September 2016 as part of the project. The workshop was attended by leading professionals from academia, manufacturers, lighting designers and public health institutions. The report is published on the Knowledge Portal at:

The project’s final report has been published as part of the CIBSE Research Insights series:

Sizing of hot and cold water systems

Project type: Two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership with CIBSE and Heriot Watt University
Research Associate: Achala Wickramasinghe
Academic Supervisor: Prof Lynne Jack
Date: October 2017 - February 2020

This was the CIBSE and Heriot Watt University Knowledge Transfer Partnership, funded by Innovate UK, to develop a stochastic model for the assessment of design flow for domestic hot and cold water services for medium-large scale domestic residential installations. This two year project aimed to update current CIBSE guidance on the sizing of hot and cold water systems in order to maximise system efficiency. The project followed on from the phase 1 collaboration with Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) and the Loading Unit Normalisation Assessment (LUNA) group to review the use of loading units as a method for sizing domestic hot and cold water systems.

The Research Report from Phase 1 is published on the Knowledge Portal:

The KTP Associate, Achala Wickramasinghe, presented her work at the CIBSE B2P Live 2018 and also published an article summarising her research in the March 2019 CIBSE Journal:

Achala also collected measured data to validate the model she developed.

Total Performance of Low Carbon Buildings in China and the UK

Project type:  Research funded by EPSRC and NSFC
Coordinated by: UCL and Tsinghua University
Date: December 2015 – November 2019

This jointly funded by EPSRC and NSFC project sought to develop methods to allow meaningful dynamic total performance gap comparison in the UK and China, which would be flexible enough to allow for national context variations. China and the UK offer interesting and contrasting contexts in which to compare total performance gaps, due to differences in policy, construction, climate, as well as potential differences in occupant behaviour. Focusing on eight case studies in the UK (four selected case studies will be presented as part of the proposed publication), the research team was able to identify varying degrees of performance gap across different criteria, and to demonstrate how high resolution and high granularity data may provide the solution to identifying when and how buildings are under-performing.

CIBSE was a member of the steering group of the project and outputs of the project were included in four new CIBSE publications:
TM61 Operational performance of buildings
TM62 Operational performance: Surveying occupant satisfaction
TM63 Operational performance: Building performance modelling and calibration for evaluation of energy in-use
TM64 Operational performance: Indoor air quality – emissions sources and mitigation measures

Weather data for daylight modelling

Project type: Two-year post doctorate research in association with Loughborough University
Research Associate: Dr Eleonora Brembilla
Academic Supervisor: Prof John Mardaljevic
Date: September 2017 - September 2019

Maximising potential for natural daylight is essential for both indoor comfort and wellbeing but also to reduce energy demand for artificial lighting. Realistic assessment of the potential daylight availability is important in order to maximize its use and energy efficiency potential, whilst avoiding undue excesses which might cause visual discomfort or high cooling loads. Current software tools use weather data that are largely founded on temperature based criteria rather than visible radiation (e.g. illuminance) and so they are not appropriate for the assessment and modelling of daylight potential. This CIBSE sponsored postdoctoral two-year project aimed to bridge that gap and to provide the industry with improved resources to apply in their daylight design practices.

The postdoc researcher, Eleonora Brembilla, presented her work at the CIBSE Technical Symposium 2019 and her paper provides a summary of her analysis: Eleonora also submitted a paper for the Building Services Research and Technology (BSER&T) Journal – Special Issue on Health and Wellbeing published in January 2020.

Delivering Collaborative Design

Project type: Industry led research 
Coordinated by: Andrew Write, Andrew Write Associates
The project developed a series of tools based on the analysis of various exemplar case study buildings and established the key factors that contribute to the successful completion of those projects. The project was also supported by CIC, RIBA and other professional bodies and industry companies and aimed to utilise those bodies to disseminate its outputs and promote the new approach.

Designing for extreme weather events

Project type: Three-year doctorate research in association with University of West London
Research Associate: Athanasios Lykartsis
Academic Supervisor: Dr Ali Bahadori-Jahromi
Date: June 2015 - September 2018

Athanasios Lykartsis, a CIBSE sponsored PhD student was researching design for extreme weather events in a three-year project at the University of West London (UWL), investigating the impact of observed extreme weather events and suggesting solutions for increasing the resilience of buildings in order to remain operational. The project also examined the resilience of buildings under future extreme events, utilising the UKCP09 information. The project had clear links with the work of the CIBSE Special Interest Group on Resilient Cities and the research benefitted from the Group’s expertise in this area.

The CIBSE sponsored Research Associate, Athanasios Lykartsis, successfully completed his PhD viva.

Human response to LED based lighting solutions

Project type: Research commissioned by CIBSE 
Coordinated by: Public Health England
Date: April 2015 - April 2016

The aim of this project was to investigate certain aspects of LED lighting, to assess how they impact on humans and give quantitative indicators for acceptable measures. It is considering the possibility of fundamental research balanced against reporting on existing work being carried out within CIE and other organisations. It is designed to yield unbiased results that will provide guidance and confidence to lighting designers, specifiers and the general public on the use of LED lighting solutions. The project is intended to address five key areas:

  1. Measurement of colour of LEDs currently available on the market.
  2. Assessment of the role of derived colour metrics.
  3. Measurement of flicker of LEDs currently available on the market.
  4. Assessment of the impact of flicker on users.
  5. Survey existing research into the effects of low LED light levels on circadian rhythms.

The final report can be downloaded here.

The urban climate: an integrated approach to building performance and urban design

Project type: Engineering Doctorate in association with UCL
Research Associate: Dane Virk
Academic Supervisors: Prof Mike Davies and Dr Anna Mavrogianni, UCL
Date: September 2011 - September 2015

The project aimed to evaluate how urban climates affect the built environment and in turn, how changes to land use and building design affect the urban environment. Research outputs contributed to new design guidance for CIBSE members. The project has provided considerable input to and support for the development of CIBSE weather data.

Dane contributed to Guide A section 2, revising the section on Urban Heat Islands, and to the Zero Carbon Hub ‘Tackling overheating in homes’ review published in March 2015. He has published two papers in renowned international journals looking at the effect of green and cool roofs in the thermal and energy performance of office buildings. His third paper was published in the BSER&T Special Issue (March 2015) on overheating and indoor air quality. In this later paper he is demonstrating the use of the recently published CIBSE Design Summer Years for London in designing for the Urban Heat Island effect in London. Dane has also completed a guidance document for CIBSE Members (soon to be published as a new TM).


  • Virk, G, Mylona, A, Mavrogianni, A, Davies, M, (2015) ‘Using the new CIBSE Design Summer Years to assess overheating in London: effect of the urban heat island on design’, Building Services Engineering Research & Technology, March 2015, vol. 36, 2: pp. 115-128
  • Virk, G, Jansz, A, Mavrogianni, A, Mylona, A, Stocker, J.R, Davies, M, (2015) ‘Microclimatic effects of green and cool roofs in London and their impacts on energy use for a typical office building’, Energy and Buildings, 1 February 2015, vol. 88, pp. 214–228
  • Virk, G, Jansz, A, Mavrogianni, A, Mylona, A, Stocker, J.R, Davies, M, (2014) ‘The effectiveness of retrofitted green and cool roofs at reducing overheating in a naturally ventilated office in London: Direct and indirect effects in current and future climates’, Indoor Built Environment, 23(3) (UKIEG Special Issue), pp.504–520
  •  Virk, G, Mylona, A, Mavrogianni, A, Davies, M, (2015) ‘Urban Heat Island analysis of Birmingham and Manchester for the creation of new Design Summer Years’, CIBSE Technical Symposium, London, UK 16-17 April 2015
  • Virk, G, Mylona, A, Mavrogianni, A, Davies, M, (2013) ‘Developing and expanding current CIBSE design guidance on urban climates’, CIBSE Technical Symposium, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK, 11-12 April 2013
  • Zero Carbon Hub “Tackling Overheating in Homes” project, “Evidence Review – Methodologies” report

Review, testing and CFD modelling of fuel cell micro CHP technology for residential and commercial buildings

Project type: Knowledge Transfer Partnership with CIBSE and St Andrews University
Research Associate: Dr Alem Tesfai
Academic Supervisors: Prof John Irvine and Dr Paul Connor, St Andrews University
Date: August 2013 - July 2015

The project aimed to review micro CHP systems available in the market, including their technological and financial benefits in comparison to conventional grid power supply systems.

A fuel cell based micro-CHP system was installed at CIBSE HQ contributing to the building’s electricity and hot water load. Its monitored performance has been reported in a series of blogs and conferences, including the CIBSE Technical Symposium. Technical guidance is currently in preparation, giving details of the technology, its commissioning process and on-site performance,

The project team is currently reviewing funding opportunities to further extend the life of the project to include the performance of more fuel cell based systems and allow comparisons with more conventional energy systems. Alem organised a meeting with interested members of the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) to explore areas of common interest and potential support for a collaborative project.


Dissertations for Good

Project type: Dissertation pilot with NUS and University of West London
Academic Supervisor: Dr Ali Bahadori-Jahromi
Date: 2015

CIBSE supported ‘Dissertations for Good’ pilot run by the NUS (National Union of Students). This programme aims to match up students and companies who can help them with their dissertations, with the eventual aim of putting those dissertations to use for the public benefit. CIBSE informed the dissertations of seven engineering students, supervised by Dr Ali Bahadori-Jahromi from the department of Civil Engineering in the University of West London (UWL), on the subject of building adaptation to the impacts of climate change.


iSERVcmb: Inspection of HVAC Systems through continuous monitoring and benchmarking

Project type: Intelligent Energy – Europe (IEE) funded project
Coordinated by: Prof Ian Knight, Cardiff University, Welsh School of Architecture
Date: 2011 - 2014

CIBSE was a partner in a three-year EC funded project, iSERV, which was concluded in April 2014. The project looked at the use of continuous monitoring as an alternative to physical inspections of services plant and benchmarking. The iSERV project has provided a unique approach to understanding and reducing operational energy use in building services across Europe. It has accumulated a unique set of operational data for building services components during its three-year period and acquired data from 16 countries around Europe. CIBSE’s role was to contribute to the promotion of the project’s outputs to CIBSE members, and offer a direct dissemination route of the knowledge in the form of professional guidance and information campaigns.