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Current projects

CIBSE sponsored 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
Start date: September 2017

The Climate Change Act 2008 commits 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 will define Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) standards based on current practices, national and international definitions, and will investigate 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 has published the key outputs of her work in a four page article titled “Net Gains” at the February 2020 Issue of the CIBSE Journal:

Radwa has also completed a CIBSE Research Insights publication, currently in production, which launch will be accompanied by a webinar on the subject, part of the Grow Your Knowledge webinar series, scheduled for July 2020.

Assessing overheating in homes – an industry methodology

Project type: Three-year doctorate research in association with UCL
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 also 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:

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. The platform is currently in Beta version which is intended to test the user experience and inform its future development.

The team has already started work on phase 2 of the development of the platform.


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:

Other CIBSE supported projects

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.

Energy efficiency in the hospitality sector 

Project type:  Two doctorate research projects 
Coordinated by: 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.

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 seeks 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 has been 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 is a member of the steering group of the project and outputs of the project have been 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


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 has been invited to be a partner with six interdisciplinary teams that put forward bids towards the NERC Clean Air Programme. The programme will fund six networks that will build interdisciplinary communities to address air quality challenges at the outdoor/indoor interface. The announcement of the winning bids is expected in May 2020 and successful networks will start 1st June 2020. (

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.