Skip to content

Current projects

CIBSE sponsored projects

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
Start date: October 2017

This is 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 aims to update current CIBSE guidance on the sizing of hot and cold water systems in order to maximise system efficiency. The project follows 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 now 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 so far in the March 2019 CIBSE Journal:

Achala is currently collecting measured data to validate the model she has developed over the last year.

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.

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
Start date: September 2017

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 aims 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 so far: Eleonora has also submitted a paper for the Building Services Research and Technology (BSER&T) Journal – Special Issue on Health and Wellbeing to be published in January 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 expect 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 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

A project jointly funded by CIBSE and the BRE Trust investigates when is the best time to have the high intensity, cool coloured lighting, and for how long, and when to turn it down and make it warmer. The project aims to find optimal control strategies for circadian lighting to maximise health and wellbeing benefits.

The project’s first stage has successfully concluded the first stage and the output 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:

Stage two of the project is now collecting data from site measurements and occupant interviews. The final report of the project with all research findings will be available in Autumn 2019.

Delivering Collaborative Design

Project type: Industry led research 
Coordinated by: Andrew Write, Andrew Write Associates
Stage 2 of the project ‘Delivering Collaborative Design’ which aims to promote integrated design practices based on industry evidence is now finished.  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. CIBSE has approved funding for stage 3 of the project which will look to validate and expand the application of the tools to more case studies. The project is also supported by CIC, RIBA and other professional bodies and industry companies and, as part of stage 3, aims to utilise those bodies to disseminate its outputs and promote the new approach.

Other projects

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.

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 2018

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 will be included in the CIBSE TM61, currently under peer review to be published this winter.

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

CIBSE is a member of the Advisory Board of the London-Loughborough (LoLo) EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand - a collaboration between the UCL Energy Institute and Loughborough University, since 2009.

CIBSE is also a member of the Advisory Board of the EPSRC-SFI Centre of Doctoral Training in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment (ERBE) which is LoLo’s successor and a new collaboration between the UCL Energy Institute, Loughborough University and Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy in Ireland (MAREI).

Finally, 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.