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An architects office

Buildings and the Environment


Buildings and the Environment

To meet the Government’s objective of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, households and businesses will have to think carefully about how energy is used in buildings. The energy efficiency of properties will need to be transformed and buildings will need to make much greater use of low-carbon technologies.

This research theme is focused on:

  • The development of building pathology and practical research to understand new, existing and retrofit buildings, on a domestic and commercial scale.
  • Understanding the physics and operation of buildings and their designs, testing construction models and evaluating their performance in real-world situations.
Research Expertise:
  • Dominic Miles-Shenton
    Dominic Miles-Shenton is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for the Built Environment (CeBE). Since joining the group in 2004 he has been measuring the actual performance of building fabrics, particularly the relationship between as-designed and as-built building performance.
  • Matthew Brooke-Peat
    Matthew is a Chartered Architectural Technologist, Chartered Builder and Chartered Environmentalist. Since 1994, he has held positions in construction, architectural practice, academia and technical consultancy.
  • Ian Dickinson
    Ian develops digital media and manages the VirtualSite project, a learning resource which utilises panoramic photography to create virtual reality simulations of real construction sites. Working on projects to disseminate research into sustainability and developing interactive building performance e-learning tools.
  • Professor Chris Gorse
    Christopher Gorse is a Professor of Construction and Project Management, Director of the Leeds Sustainability Institute and Head of the Centre for the Built Environment, Low Carbon and Sustainability Research Group, with over 20 years research and consultancy experience.
  • Professor David Johnston
    Professor Johnston is a Reader within the School of Built Environment & Engineering. He has over nineteen years’ experience of applied and theoretical research and consultancy in low carbon housing and is a leading expert in coheating testing.
  • Mark Warner
    Mark Warner is the Sustainability Manager tasked with decreasing the environmental impact of our University.
  • Dr Anne Stafford
  • Dr David Glew
Visiting Professors
  • Professor Gary Shuckford
    Gary Shuckford has over 25 years experience specialising in the Healthcare IT market and was instrumental in the growth of one of the UKs leading healthcare patient record companies, EMIS Group PLC. Gary has a degree in Psychology and Psychopharmacology and has been made a Visiting Professor at Leeds Beckett University, a leading university in the fields of, Big Data and Digitisation, Real Estate, Healthcare and Business. Gary also holds company Director positions for Bowman Riley Architects Ltd and Edenbridge Healthcare Ltd. Gary has also been a council member for Tech UK Health representing member companies in health and social care, as well as speaking on numerous conferences. Gary is also an advisor to the UK BIM4HEALTH group regarding the integration of patient, guidance and standards into the BIM agenda for existing and new NHS build programs.
  • Professor Peter Skipworth
    Professor Pete Skipworth is an entrepreneur in the water and environment sectors. Alongside his role at EMS Ltd, he is Chairman of Ecus Ltd, a nationwide multidisciplinary environmental consultancy. Through EMS, Pete works with household names in the food and drink, pharmaceutical, automotive, heavy industrial, energy, and water sectors.

Case Studies

Green Deal Energy Efficiency

Our researchers, working in collaboration with Leeds City Council and on behalf of the Department of Energy & Climate Change, undertook a field trial research programme to understand how homeowners view energy use and the impact of refurbishments.

Using pressure tests, co-heating tests, thermal imaging, heat flux measurements and in use monitoring, the research programme tested the energy efficiency of properties before and after Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation refurbishment projects.

Initial findings have revealed installing insulation is an effective way of reducing heat loss from buildings. Data is currently being collected to understand by how much this can reduce energy bills and to investigate how homeowners are affected by the refurbishments. It is hoped our findings will inform future legislation and influence how the benefits of retrofit projects are promoted.

Saint-Gobain - Salford Energy House Retrofit Thermal Performance Research Programme

Researchers at Leeds Beckett University, working in collaboration with Saint-Gobain Recherche and the University of Salford, are engaged in an ongoing research programme investigating the thermal performance of retrofit measures applied to a circa 1900 solid wall end-terrace house that is situated in an environmentally controlled chamber.

Quantitative measurements of the thermal performance have included:

  • In situ U-values of thermal elements.
  • Whole house heat loss (heat loss coefficient).
  • Airtightness testing.
  • Hygrothermal monitoring.
  • Thermal modelling of the test house junctions and comparison of surface temperature distribution with that measured.

Qualitative data gathered have included:

  • Thermographic surveys.
  • Construction observations.
  • Air leakage/infiltration detection using thermography and smoke.
  • Borescope inspections.

The research programme has been designed to enable any discrepancy between measured and calculated change in thermal performance to be quantified and reasons for any discrepancy measured identified. As well as quantifying the thermal performance of the test house and its thermal elements, the research programme has brought new understanding to the complex interaction of heat loss mechanisms within a dwelling.