University College London PhD Studentship topics announced as part of the 3rd – Round of Recruitment for entry 2018/19
Please note that the general 3rd round of recruitment to UCL is now CLOSED. For the application deadlines of the individual projects please see their respective links.
1. How does heating influence occupancy and occupancy influence heating? – A zonal study
Previous approaches to questions of heat demand reduction through zoned heating have not included robust evidence of where the occupants are in the dwelling and how often this changes. This study will use technical monitoring and social methods to unpick the relationship between heating and occupancy and establish to what extent heat is wasted in unoccupied rooms and to what extent heating zoning is feasible.
2. Characterising and reducing cooling demand in non-domestic buildings
Currently only basic estimates are available of cooling demand in non-domestic buildings. Yet this demand is important to understand as cooling intensifies with increasing external temperatures and several other factors. UCL’s model of non-domestic buildings in the UK will be used to research the level of demand now and in the future, and how it matches to availability of renewable energy supply. There is potential to combine this modelling study with some fieldwork on internal temperatures in subsections of buildings and interviews with occupants on thermal comfort.
3. Thermal comfort and energy efficiency in dwellings through reversible heat pumps
Cooling is currently excluded from many studies on domestic energy use because it is still rare. This has led to a lack of strategy and a piecemeal introduction of cooling technologies to homes. This project will combine modelling with empirical evidence on reversible heat pumps and likely demand profiles to investigate hourly energy demand and grid impacts, with the aim of producing results, which can be used to inform a domestic cooling strategy.
4. Understanding high resolution heat demand at different scales
The National Heat Map is a useful tool for planners and policy makers to understand annual heat loads in 1km2 areas and explore locally available low carbon heat sources. However as we move to a lower carbon future and make use of more renewable electricity, hourly heat demand and its variation within a day will become more important. This project will combine the best available datasets on heat demand with evidence on how demand scales with number of consumers and building types, to create a new layer for the National Heat Map showing peaks and profiles. This will facilitate follow up work on how to supply the dynamic demand.
5. Characterising building performance
UCL-Energy has considerable experience and expertise in investigating the energy performance of buildings. Primarily addressing thermal performance and ventilation, we apply physics and statistical methods to both develop methods of performance characterisation and to derive a greater appreciation of the performance of the built stock. We can support a range of different topics, and would generally expect to work with you to define a proposal that matches your and our interests.
6. Characterisation of the thermal performance of building components.
The performance of building components can be highly variable, complex and poorly understood. We typically measure the heat flux, temperatures and potential explanatory variables, such as solar radiation, to analyse the thermal performance of building components, deriving the U-value and effective thermal mass from a novel Bayesian inverse analysis method. By doing so we develop methods for the characterisation of the thermal performance of building components and investigate the performance gap, between expected and real energy performance. We have an active programme of research in this area and are interested in pursuing further work into the thermal performance of walls, roofs and floors.
7. Characterisation of the ventilation of dwellings.
The impact of poor ventilation on health is just beginning to be fully appreciated; initial research suggests that ventilation rates in UK homes is often below recommended levels. There is also an obvious need to balance ventilation and energy requirements for buildings. We are particularly interested in projects on ventilation at present, to complement our existing research on the air permeability of dwellings and on characterising the dynamic performance of ventilation – there is huge scope for projects in the area, investigating different ventilation systems, analysis methods and how systems perform over time.
8. Characterisation of the thermal performance of heating systems.
The efficiency of heating systems is not as simple as looking at a boiler rating – it changes according to how heat is used and how the system is set up. We study the thermal performance of systems, and are particularly interested in developing further diagnostic tests for system performance.