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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.