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Energy Efficient Cities

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Complimentary tea coffee and biscuits will be served


The Energy Efficient Cities initiative (EECi) aims to strengthen the UK’s capacity to address energy demand reduction and environmental impact in cities through cross-disciplinary research in building and transport technologies, district power systems, and urban planning. This seminar will introduce the EECi project, current research topics and preliminary findings from researchers working in the University’s Engineering and Architecture departments.


Dr Alex Hagen-Zanker Post-Doctoral Research Assistant, Department of Architecture Adam Booth PhD Student, Department of Engineering Adam Rysanek PhD Student, Department of Engineering Orian Welling PhD Student, Department of Engineering Uven Chong PhD Student, Department of Engineering Marc Stettler PhD Student, Department of Engineering

Speakers’ Abstracts

Dr Alex Hagen-Zanker: “Modelling urban activities and energy consumption”

Over 60 percent of energy consumption in the UK is for domestic and transport purposes and 90% of the population lives in urban areas. It therefore makes sense to target energy efficiency efforts at urban activities; by developing and implementing new technologies as well as policies and spatial planning that promote energy efficient patterns of behaviour. First and foremost, the latter relate to transport by car – energy could be saved if we make less and shorter car trips – but it also extends to the locations and intensity of use of homes and workplaces. This presentation reports on Discrete Choice Models that capture much of the patterns of behaviour and are used to foresee the effect of policy alternatives. It also discusses how feedbacks between technological advances and behavioural patterns provide both challenges and opportunities.

Adam Booth “Retro-fitting social housing in the UK”

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has recently released their ‘Strategy for Household Energy Management’, in which they highlight the need to tackle fuel poverty and improve social housing. The DECC strategy includes plans on upgrading the building fabric of all households in the UK, alongside installing more advanced technologies in approximately 7 million properties, such as heat pumps or solid wall insulation. Current modelling techniques for predicting residential energy demand are deterministic and time-consuming, and are therefore unsuitable for applying to the analysis of large housing stocks, in which there is an inherent variation in the actual energy usage. In this talk, Adam Booth looks at how we can model the energy demand of domestic buildings at the urban- or national-scale, and how we can provide better tools for decision-makers to see the risks and uncertainty associated with making retrofitting interventions on the UK social housing stock.

Adam Rysanek “The Development of Marginal Abatement Cost Curves (MACCs) for Individual Buildings”

Commonly used within national and global energy policy contexts, Marginal Abatement Cost Curves are approximate representations of the costs and decarbonisation potentials of GHG mitigating technologies and measures within various sectors. Although they are derived from both engineering and economic models, they often require simplification of data and physics, particularly when assessing large stocks of technologies or services. One example is the case MAC Cs for national building stocks, such as in the UK, where the transient interaction between energy supply and demand, as well as interactions between different technologies, cannot be easily modelled. This talk will give an overview of a new project that aims to construct and investigate a general engineering-based model that can produce Marginal Abatement Cost Curves (MACCs) for individual buildings. By reduces the scope of the model to the building level, it becomes feasible to incorporate: 1) accurate building physics, such as technology interactions, 2) energy services demand forecasts, and 3) multiple periods of investment. Though the model will still require interaction with national energy policy inputs, the MAC Cs produced will be geared primarily towards decision makers at the building-level, such as building owners, ESC Os, and city councils.

Orian Welling “A comparison of diesel and natural gas engines for city buses”

The operating cycles of diesel and natural gas engines provide different opportunities to reduce fuel use and emissions. The advantages and disadvantages of each will be discussed as well as average speed and backwards facing vehicle models used to compare the two technologies. The average speed and backwards facing models provide energy requirements and emissions outputs from the two bus technologies which will be used to asses environmental impact of buses across a city.

Uven Chong “Natural gas buses in London”

Most of London’s buses run on diesel fuel, which emits large amounts of particulate matter and NOX . As an example of the impact of buses on transport emissions in London, Transport for London reported in its 2009 Environmental Report that 78% of transport emissions come from its bus fleet. PM and NOX have local health impacts, which can reduce the life expectancy of local residents. This project evaluates the emissions changes between natural gas and diesel fuel. A method to spatially model the emissions per square kilometre was created. From this, atmospheric emissions interactions and health impacts will be analysed. Ultimately, the results will be used to inform transport policy in London.

Marc Stettler “Environmental impacts of airports”

Air travel is forecast to grow in the foreseeable future and there is currently uncertainty as to whether airport capacity can be expanded within environmental constraints. Several sources at airports contribute to emissions of pollutants that affect the climate and air quality, however there is large uncertainty when inventorying these emissions. Marc Stettler will describe a model of airport energy consumption and emissions and describe ways to overcome this uncertainty. The model will eventually be used to estimate emissions of airports accountng for 95% of UK air travel and the potential impact of Heathrow expansion, preliminary results will be discussed.

This talk is part of the Sustainability in the Built Environment (GreenBRIDGE) series.

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