UCL congratulates another LoLo PhD success

UCL congratulates another LoLo PhD success
19th March 2018 Mae Oroszlany

Everyone in the LoLo community would like to congratulate Virginia Gori on passing her viva  and being awarded a PhD in August 2017.

Virginia recently attended the UCL Graduation Ceremony and on this occasion spoke to us about her thesis and experience.

Virginia’s thesis title  was : “A novel method for the estimation of thermophysical properties of walls from short and seasonally independent in-situ surveys”

What was it about?

My PhD aimed at developing a novel dynamic method to rapidly characterise the thermophysical performance of building elements as built. In particular, I was interested in reducing the length of monitoring campaigns and extending the data collection to non-winter seasons and differently oriented building elements. This would overcome the main limitations of the methods generally adopted for the purpose and extend the use of in-situ measurements in practice. My research used Bayesian statistics, building physics and in-situ monitoring to evaluate the heat transfer across the building envelope and optimise the most likely values for thermophysical properties such as the U-value and thermal mass.
My results showed that the method devised was able to meet the aims of my research. In particular, it showed to reduce the length of the monitoring period compared to the incumbent approach and to provide robust estimates at all times of the year, including times when the element was exposed to large daily swings in external temperature or to significant direct solar radiation. The method also showed to provide useful insights into the thermal structure of building elements. Such a method may have a wide range of applications as a tool for diagnosis and performance evaluation (e.g., tailored retrofitting interventions, quality assurance), and for new regulatory and business opportunities towards closing the performance gap.

More information on my method and the findings of my PhD can be found here and here.

What were the highlights of LoLo?

LoLo was an exciting centre to belong to. Its vibrant and multidisciplinary community offered me a cutting-edge environment where undertaking robust in-depth research for my project, while keeping in mind the real complexity of energy demand reduction and the multiple actors involved.
LoLo also offered me the possibility to challenge myself learning new skill sets, to undertake extra-curricular activities, and to present my work to the Government and influential industrial partners in a number of occasions, providing a unique opportunity for my academic and personal growth.

What are you doing now?

I’m currently a Research Associate in the Physical Characterisation of Buildings as part of the RCUK Centre for Energy Epidemiology at the UCL Energy Institute, and I’m excited to be about to start an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship in less than a month. The EPSRC Fellowship I’ve been awarded will support me and my research for the next two years. It will build on and expand the combination of methods and techniques pioneered during my PhD, this time to develop a method tackling the characterisation of building heat loss.

Virginia and her PhD Supervisor Dr Cliff Elwell at the UCL Graduation Ceremony – March 2018