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UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Blogs from UCL IEDE Staff and Students


Archive for the 'Environmental Design and Engineering' Category

Water, water, everywhere…

ucftjgt13 January 2016

floodingWatching politicians wearing rubber boots wading through floodwaters is quickly becoming become an annual winter and spring tradition in the UK[1]. This year, a number of voices have attributed blame for the floods on cutbacks in flood defence spending, land use management, building construction in flood-vulnerable locations, and climate change. In reality, the flooding is likely to be a combination of all these factors. What we can say with confidence, though, is that we should expect the type of rainfall events that caused the floods to become more common in the future due to climate change – indeed, research indicates that climate change made this year’s floods across the UK 40% more likely[2]. As the risk of floods becomes greater, we need to learn how to be more resilient against floods, which requires increasing our understanding of their impact on population health and buildings. (more…)

A case of cognitive dissonance?

Clive Shrubsole15 December 2015

COP21I’m a lifelong Tottenham fan and can still remember the rollercoaster of previous years where preseason expectation often nosedived into frustration and disappointment. We were OK playing at home, but when playing away invariably folded often with heavy losses.

However, I love the current performances, the new sense of belief and energy on the pitch, the consistency wherever the venue and the joy of being with IEDE colleagues at games and watching us win and often in spectacular fashion.


In some ways I feel the same about COP21 when compared to previous summits; great expectations, agreement (albeit voluntary) and a renewed sense of purpose and drive with clear goals. After all, the fact is, climate change is a fact. The science behind climate change and the ongoing evidence is now overwhelming with 95% certainty in term of made-made emissions being the source. Recent floods in the UK and various events worldwide have created a sense of proximity for all that may have been lacking in previous negotiations. For the UK, our ‘away game’ was impressive with strong statements such as “action today, not excuses tomorrow” when referring to climate change. (more…)

Energy performance gap assessment and Post Occupancy Evaluation of UCL Cruciform Library / Main outcomes

ucqbvko12 November 2015

This update includes the main results of my dissertation research regarding UCL Cruciform Library. The most important outcomes of the methodology used, including hygrothermal monitoring, occupant comfort surveys, dynamic thermal modelling and Carbon Buzz are presented.

After the monitoring period (6-20/7/2015), the results extracted from the Hobo data loggers were analysed. The most important findings are summarized below:


Hygrothermal monitoring plan

the average internal temperature in the majority of spaces (excluding computer clusters – average of 24 degrees Celcius) fluctuates between 21 and 22 degrees Celcius, really close to the external one (average of 18.9 degrees Celcius).

the average internal relative humidity in the majority of spaces fluctuates between 51 and 55%, falling inside the acceptable range of 40-70% according to CIBSE Guide A (2006). (more…)

Right Here, Right Now (with apologies to FatBoy Slim)

Clive Shrubsole20 October 2015

19 – 25 October marks the inaugural Global Climate Change Week (#GCCW). GCCW is a new initiative designed to encourage academics in all disciplines and countries to engage with their students and communities on climate change action and solutions. UCL IEDE, UCL-Energy, UCL ISR and UCL ISH academics and students will be holding events and blogging through the week to share thoughts and ideas for the future.

The fact is: climate change is a fact. The science behind climate change and the ongoing evidence is now so overwhelming, that it seems to me that some active climate change deniers are a bit like members of the flat earth society, holding on to an increasingly delusional view despite all the proof to the contrary.. Some continue to deny the science publically, while acknowledging it privately due to a powerful vested interests that they feel could suffer should it be acknowledged. (more…)

Vehicle emissions: It’s time to put emphasis back on human health

Clive Shrubsole6 October 2015


Last Saturday, I purchased a new VW Polo 1.2 Tsi. My friends and colleagues at UCL may find my decision to buy a car from a company embroiled in the emissions scandal strange, given my ‘green’ lifestyle. Why did I do it? Well, we’ll come to that shortly. In the meantime….


Volkswagen’s former boss Martin Winterkorn resigned last week as the emission-rigging scandal hit the headlines and is now, along with others, the subject of a criminal investigation. The German car maker is bracing itself for a barrage of lawsuits in the US and elsewhere over its attempt to subvert emissions testing in its diesel cars, with some commentators estimating that over 80 federal suits have been filed so far. Shareholders are also lining up for their piece of the potential billions that could be paid out, as the perfect storm of illegal behaviour and severe financial harm combine.


Innovative solutions to the problems of airborne pollution in cities

Clive Shrubsole17 July 2015

air pollution, cityParticulate matter (PM) is an airborne pollutant, the smaller fractions of which penetrate the deep lung and can pass into the blood stream. It has a severe impacts on health along with oxides of nitrogen (NOx), as a report on London’s air pollution published this week have yet again confirmed:

‘Air pollution in London caused early deaths of 9,500 people in a single year’.

The EU are looking for technical solutions to help reduce the concentrations of pollutants in the ambient air. In this case Particulate matter (PM), which I have a specific interest in. The Horizon Prize on materials for clean air will be awarded to the most affordable, sustainable and innovative design-driven material solution that can reduce the concentration of particulate matter in urban areas.

So, anything that helps to reduce people’s exposure has to be investigated, with the caveat that ‘dealing with the pollution at source is the first priority. With that in mind the recent publication of Sustainia’s document detailing the  ‘100 most sustainable innovations of 2015‘ also deserves serious consideration. Innovations covers a number of sectors including buildings, cities, food and health. (more…)