The UK is on the brink of a new, third age of energy efficiency. UK greenhouse gas emissions must fall by at least 65% by 2050, with the electricity system decarbonising even faster. Large wind, marine and solar generators, supported by energy storage, will dominate the central supply system and intelligent, community and building-integrated systems will be embedded in our towns and cities.
This interaction of people, buildings and energy systems will transform the relationship between supply and demand. Our domestic and non-domestic buildings can no longer be passive consumers of heat and power, instead, our homes and businesses must participate actively in a flexible, integrated, low-carbon supply and demand system, buying, selling and storing heat and power to achieve ‘Energy resilience through security, integration, demand management and decarbonisation’. This must be achieved whilst simultaneously meeting our human need for high quality spaces in which to live and work, thereby increasing the productivity of the UK economy, reducing fuel poverty, improving health and wellbeing, and supporting an ageing population.
I am delighted that we have been awarded funding for the new ERBE CDT. In collaboration with our partners in industry and government, we are looking forward to training students to make an impact in the energy and buildings sector, through addressing the emerging challenges of supporting energy flexibility and resilience, improving the performance of the buildings we inhabit, and meeting our needs for healthy, comfortable environments. We will be offering a 4 year PhD programme of training and research, that builds on the successes of the LoLo CDT in Energy Demand.
Associate Professor Dr Cliff Elwell – ERBE Deputy Director
The new EPSRC CDT in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment (ERBE) will train at least 68 PhD graduates to understand the systemic, radical, multi and interdisciplinary challenges we face, and equip them with the leadership credentials to effect change. Students will be immersed in world-leading research environments at UCL, Loughborough University collaborating with the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy in Ireland. They will work with partners in industry, government and NGOs to deliver insights that are directly relevant to the challenges this sector faces.
ERBE students will attain a depth of understanding only possible as cohorts work and learn together. An integrated, 4-year programme will provide the knowledge, research and transferable skills to enable outstanding graduates from physics to social sciences to pursue research in one of three themes:
– Flexibility and resilience: the interaction between buildings and the whole supply system, through new generation and storage technology, enabled by smart control systems and new business models.
– Technology and system performance: demand reduction and decarbonisation of the built environment through design, construction methods, technological innovation, monitoring and regulation.
– Comfort, health and well-being: buildings and energy systems that create productive work environments and affordable, clean, safe homes.
By providing training in a rigorous, world-leading, stakeholder-shaped, outward-facing and multi-centred research environment, the new ERBE CDT will help the UK achieve the goals in the government’s industrial strategy and clean growth plan.