School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Staff

Dr Bianca Howard PhD

Photo of Dr Bianca Howard

Lecturer in Urban Energy Modelling

Background:

Dr. Howard received her MSc and PhD from Columbia University in Mechanical Engineering. For her PhD, she was awarded interdisciplinary (Engineering + Architecture) fellowship by the US National Science Foundation aimed at “Solving Urbanization Challenges through Design”.

During her studies under this program, she developed a new statistical approach for estimating the energy consumption for the over 1 million buildings in New York City leveraging data from the NYC Office of Long Term Planning. A visualization of the estimates was featured in National Geographic and is available to browse at the follow website, qsel.columbia.edu/nycenergy.

She also determined the technical potential for combined heat and power systems in New York City, identifying the ideal capacity for specific buildings and communities across the city. The project also partnered with the Centre for Climate Change Law to identify the regulatory hurdles to implementing CHP systems. The combined works were disseminated to the City led working group on Combined Heat and Power.

Subsequently she evaluated the greenhouse gas emissions reduction potential for combined heat and power systems in various climates using a controlled random search and a mixed integer linear program (MILP). She further developed a model of electricity production in New York State, also a MILP, to determine how GHG emission factors would change in the next 10 years given the large growth in Wind Power and closing of coal power plants.

After her PhD studies, she was a postdoctoral research at Imperial College working with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Chemical Engineering to leverage opportunistic data sets to increase the energy efficiency of non-domestic buildings in a project entitled Future Proofing Facilities Management. The project went into depth to determine techniques to measure, prediction, and simulate occupancy. For a small office building in London, we quantified the ability of various ICT data sets to measure the number of people in a space, evaluated the ability of times series and machine learning techniques to predict occupancy and compared the ability of Markov Chain and Hazard-based models to stochastically simulate occupancy. The project also explored first principles-based and statistical techniques for fault detection and diagnosis of HVAC system faults.

Dr. Howard joined Loughborough University in August 2017, appointed through the competitive Excellence 100 Initiative. As a lecturer in urban energy modelling, she relies on energy simulation, optimization, stochastic modelling, and statistical techniques to address the planning, design, and operation of low carbon energy systems. 

Qualifications:

  • PhD in Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University, USA
  •       Thesis Title: Methods for Analysis of Urban Energy Systems: A New York City Case Study
  • MPhil in Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University, USA
  • MSc in Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University, USA
  •       Concentration: Energy Systems
  • BSc in Mechanical Engineering, University of Nebraska, USA

Key awards:

  • 2011-2015 US National Science Foundation IGERT Fellow
  • 2012 Genius Award, Elle Magazine

Outline of main research interests:

  • Urban Energy Demand Modelling
  • Hybrid Energy System Design and Optimization
  • Collaborative Control of Community Energy Demands

Grants and contracts:

  • SCENe- Sustainable Community Energy Networks, Innovate UK
  • Co-investigator since 2017: modelling community scale heat and power networks

Current teaching responsibilities:

  • CV058 Building Science
  • CVP315 Building Energy Systems & Models
  • CVP310 Thermal Modelling and Performance Simulation
  • CVP319 Research Methods
  • CVP351 Research Development & Dissemination

Recent publications:

  • Howard, B., Waite, M., Modi, V.
    Current and near-term GHG emissions factors from electricity production for New York State and New York City
    (2017) Applied Energy, 187, pp. 255-271.
  • Howard, B., Modi, V.
    Examination of the optimal operation of building scale combined heat and power systems under disparate climate and GHG emissions rates
    (2017) Applied Energy, 185, pp. 280-293. 
  • Howard, B., Saba, A., Gerrard, M., Modi, V.
    Combined heat and power's potential to meet New York city's sustainability goals
    (2014) Energy Policy, 65, pp. 444-454. Cited 6 times.
  • Howard, B., Parshall, L., Thompson, J., Hammer, S., Dickinson, J., Modi, V.
    Spatial distribution of urban building energy consumption by end use
    (2012) Energy and Buildings, 45, pp. 141-151.