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UK Urban Environmental Quality (UKUEQ)

A working group of the Resilient Cities group, UK Urban Environmental Quality (UKUEQ) has been set up to gather, generate and promote best available technologies and design practices leading to better understanding of, and designs for, the climateresilient urban environment in UK cities in a building services context.

It is a joint working group of the CIBSE Resilient Cities Group and the UK Wind Engineering Society, associated with the Institution of Civil Engineers. UKUEQ is hosted by CIBSE.  The group is primarily focused on computational fluid dynamic (CFD) techniques within a performance-led approach and how it interfaces with other software types and design methods.

Cities are having to take urgent action to tackle air quality and the climate crisis.  Built environment practitioners and scientists are working to devise solutions and measures to improve air quality, and create greener, healthier, more resilient cities.  To ensure maximum benefit is obtained and to prevent unintended consequences, it is crucial such activities are underpinned by a robust and up-to date understanding of the urban microclimate.  Currently there are four activity streams covering individually and the relationships between:

  • urban vegetation,
  • wind,
  • thermal comfort and;
  • air quality

Other environmental factors are in consideration including noise and light, these are covered well by other CIBSE Special Interest Groups who are invited to join UKUEQ to explore and generate a better understanding of the ways in which these interrelate.

In order to do this, the group’s activities include:

  • Reviewing findings of other CIBSE SIGs, relevant research material and available published knowledge in industry to broaden knowledge and awareness of the components of urban environmental quality and how they interrelate
  • Seeking collaborations with other groups, networks and societies within and outside of CIBSE.
  • Interfacing with the research community, working with relevant bodies to ’translate’ research into practical advice and guidance


In 2024 the follow publications are in production:

led by Darren Woolf, Wirth Research/Loughborough University

led by Rob Rowsell, Wirth Research

led by Rubina Ramponi, Arup

group discussions are exploring if discomfort, and thresholds of, is more helpful for design

led by Jenny Stocker, CERC

with a focus on interfacing with the Gaussian plume techniques used in planning

And the following topics are under review for future publications, (with a focus on interrelationships with buildings and other environmental factors that form the urban environment experienced):

  • Urban heat island

  • Lighting & acoustics

  • Microclimate modelling of building-level green infrastructure (including maintenance)

The group was set up in September 2022 and meets on a monthly basis online.


Contact: Darren Woolf, Wirth Research/Loughborough University and Briony Turner, CIBSE Resilient Cities Vice Chair

Some of the activity being considered...

  • Cold downdraughts off shaded glass in tall buildings reducing urban heat island effect on hot days at ground level.
  • Reducing wind chill effect with different wind directions on cold days.
  • Reducing build-up of pollutants at street level on all days.
  • Single platform delivery including, for example, odour transport (e.g. kitchen exhaust design), drainage / flash flood resilience and wind-driven rain.
  • Air dispersion Gaussian-based methods with CFD.
  • Wind tunnel methods with CFD.
  • Surface albedo together with wind mitigation designs to influence material selection.
  • Detailed local façade wind pressure coefficients in support of natural ventilation designs.
  • Climate moderation to increase urban resilience.
  • Combined benefits of tree shade, evaporative cooling and cool surfaces on the outdoor AND indoor thermal environment whilst improving air quality at the same time.
  • Reducing peak outdoor air temperatures to reduced indoor cooling demand and extend utilisation of public realm.

Download the poster

This poster was used at the Technical Symposium in Cardiff

CIBSE UKUEQ Portrait Poster
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