Everyone in the LoLo community would like to congratulate Jenny Love on successfully passing her viva with minor corrections. Jenny was one of our first cohort of LoLo students joining the UCL Energy Institute in 2009 and has been an excellent ambassador for our Centre for Doctoral Training.
Jenny’s thesis is entitled “Understanding the interactions between occupants, heating systems and building fabric in the context of energy efficient building fabric retrofit in social housing”. Jenny tells us more about her project and time at UCL and LoLo. Her dissertation report can be downloaded below.
What was it about?
I did an unusual combination of building physics and social science, looking at how and why people might change their heating behaviour after their home is retrofitted, and if they do, what might be the energy consequences of that.
You can find a description of it here, here and here and if you’re really keen, you can download my thesis below. It turns out that when you look into it, there’s not much data out there on how people really use heating. I was keen to both measure this and obtain the occupants’ reasoning behind it, and in doing so I found quite a lot of stuff which challenges how we conventionally predict energy savings from retrofit.
What were the highlights of LoLo?
Being part of LoLo was not a traditional PhD experience. Doing something interdisciplinary is quite new in our field, and very challenging, but quite cutting edge. For example, sometimes there just isn’t a technique already around to analyse the kind of data you have collected, but there are academics enthusiastic enough to help you invent one! Also, when you study energy and buildings, your laboratory is the real world, with all its quirks. My monitoring equipment was taken down by a child in one house and a cat in another; the floor space of another was occupied by a fairly large dinosaur. Two more highlights were the level of interaction with stakeholders we had, and the three months I spent working with DECC on heat pumps.
What are you doing now?
I finished the PhD in spring 2014 and went into low carbon energy consultancy, with Element Energy. Clients such as government departments or energy companies ask us questions, and we do the (usually techno-economic) analysis to answer them. For example, I am currently working on a DECC project about integrating heat pumps into district heating networks, involving building a simulation model. In my job it has already proved very useful being part of a LoLo network where we all help each other out with energy questions. I think this will increase in the future when we are all in different jobs; I am looking forward to having friends right across the low carbon sector.
Jenny’s talks about her time with UCL-Energy (link to video)