MIE Distinguished Seminar Series: Climate change, energy and the comfort of home

Friday, March 23, 2018

Mechanical Engineering Building, MC102
5 King's College Road

Speaker: Dennis Loveday
Affiliation: Loughborough University, UK


Human-induced climate change through greenhouse gas emissions presents one of the greatest threats of our time. The built environment is one of the largest consumers of energy worldwide, with residential buildings accounting for a significant part of the demand. Much of the energy used is for the thermal conditioning of indoor spaces for human habitation, so our need for thermally comfortable living conditions is a key driver in the process.

Against this background, the United Kingdom’s situation will be described, in relation to its residential sector, energy refurbishment and national carbon reduction targets. Research conducted at Loughborough University and elsewhere, aimed at supporting improvements to residential energy performance, will be presented.

The presentation ends with a speculative view of future opportunities that may be afforded by the era of ‘big data’, including the potential for new paradigms to emerge that could change our relationship with energy, comfort and our homes.


Dennis Loveday is Professor of Building Physics in the School of Civil & Building Engineering, Loughborough University, UK. He is a member of the School’s Building Energy Research Group (BERG), and is Deputy Director of the London – Loughborough Centre for Doctoral Research in Energy Demand. He leads work on experimental design and measurement, particularly related to indoor environments and human thermal comfort. With experience spanning more than 25 years, he has led or been a co-investigator of more than 20 funded research projects. Contributions to engineering have included thermal comfort design conditions for chilled ceiling / displacement ventilation environments, fundamental heat transfer data for building applications, and new clothing thermal insulation values for comfort evaluation, these data informing professional handbooks. As Principal Investigator of the ‘CALEBRE’ Project (E.ON / RCUK, £2m, 2008-2013), he led a partnership of six UK universities that delivered research findings to inform refurbishment of the UK’s solid wall housing stock in ways that appeal to householders, save energy, reduce carbon emissions and maintain thermal comfort.

Current research includes: evaluation of advanced digital control for residential energy saving (EPSRC, ‘DEFACTO’ Project, 2012-2017 £1.5m, CoI); investigation of air motion for maintaining thermal comfort in homes (Global Innovation Initiative, British Council-funded, £149k, 2014-2016, PI, India/US/UK international collaboration); and Low Energy Cooling and Ventilation for Indian Residences (EPSRC ‘LECaVIR’ Project, 2017-2020 £537k, CoI). A member of ASHRAE, from 2013-2016 he was Chair of ASHRAE’s Technical Committee 2.1 ‘Physiology & Human Environment’, and in June 2017 he was appointed to ASHRAE’s RAC. He has published more than 100 articles, 60 of these as peer-reviewed journal papers, and is co-inventor of internationally-patented technology for low energy cooling of buildings, an innovation that achieved equal second place in the Financial Times Climate Change Challenge, 2009, against a field of 300 international entries.

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