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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H051112/1
Title: People, Energy and Buildings: Distribution, Diversity and Dynamics (PEB:D3)
Principal Investigator: Oreszczyn, Professor T
Other Investigators:
Barrett, Dr M Ekins, Professor P Strachan, Professor N
Shipworth, Professor D Sutherland, Professor HE Lowe, Professor RJ
Smith, Professor FT
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
EDF Energy
Department: Bartlett Sch of Env, Energy & Resources
Organisation: UCL
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2010 Ends: 31 March 2014 Value (£): 856,304
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Building Ops & Management Energy Efficiency
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
18 Mar 2010 People Energy and Buildings Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
To enable the UK to meet legally binding carbon targets and establish a resilient and secure energy system, the coming decades need to see an historic transition: the almost complete decarbonisation of energy supply, the development of a new heat supply system and the comprehensive refurbishment of the housing stock.Key elements in this transition include: - A shift to a largely-electric heat supply system, based on a decarbonised grid reliant on less controllable sources of generation such as wind and nuclear. This will produce considerable pressure on suppliers to better understand and control demand.- Significant increases in energy price, either as a result of policy or of market forces, which without other interventions will significantly increase levels of fuel poverty. Shifts to more capital intensive forms of generation will move the focus of energy bills from quarterly energy to peak power demand. Diversity, which depends on the variability of the timing of peak demands for individual households, will be a crucial factor in sizing and operating energy systems. - Large-scale renovation aimed at significantly reducing heat loss of dwellings. This will both require and induce profound impacts in occupant behaviour which need to be understood.To manage this transition successfully we must rapidly achieve a better understanding of the interplay between human factors (social, economic, behavioural), new technologies for dwellings, and new sources of energy. Existing models of energy-using behaviour do not capture the variability of energy using behaviours, instead relying on averages. Recent work has begun to reveal profound differences between different groups of occupants for example in their tendency to take benefits of energy efficiency improvements as higher comfort rather than a reduction in energy demand (take-back). Unless these differences are made explicit in models, policies and investment decisions are likely to be targeted inappropriately. This is likely to be compounded by use of models of the housing stock that provide only the crudest insight into the temporal variation of demand and none into the hourly interplay of demand and supply that will be critical to the cost-effective management of large tranches of renewable and nuclear generation. It is clear that new tools and approaches are needed.This proposal aims to develop such tools by bringing together an international multi-disciplinary team of social scientists, building scientists and energy systems modellers who will work within a collaborative interdisciplinary analysis, evaluation and interpretation framework and draw on new sources of data to build novel and ambitious, dynamic demand-supply models. This is a combination rarely before applied to this sector and never at this scale.From this work, we anticipate the following innovations: 1. New insights into the complexity and variability of energy consuming behaviour based on newly available data sets and novel analytical approaches. 2. Development of new models making it possible for the first time to coherently link behaviour, the built stock and the energy supply in dynamic, hourly demand-supply system models.3. Development of strategic scenarios drawing out the insights from the models and making explicit their practical implications and application, through an interdisciplinary process of critical analysis, evaluation and interpretation.All of this will enable us to address the following questions. How are internal temperatures changing? How do energy efficiency improvements in houses and occupant behaviour interact? What is the real impact of take-back? How can the UK minimise the combined costs of renovating the housing stock and renewing energy supply systems? How should this affect government policy, the business strategies of energy supply companies and those involved in the management and renovation of dwellings?
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