Research and expertise

I am a Research Associate working on the Technical Evaluation of SMETER Technologies (TEST) project in partnership with UCL, Leeds Beckett University and Halton Housing. I support and evaluate the development of Smart Meter Enabled Thermal Efficiency Ratings (SMETER) devices. 

My expertise lies in the field of building science, specifically building performance measurement and modelling. I am experienced in building measurement: co-heating, fan pressurisation, tracer gas, IR thermography, thermal comfort, synthetic occupancy; and building modelling: dynamic thermal simulation and validation.

During my PhD I characterised and synthetically-occupied a matched pair of test houses to compare thermal comfort and ventilation rates for different occupant behaviours to prevent overheating in homes. Data gathered in the side-by-side tests was used to identify effective overheating interventions and further used in a collaborative model validation study involving four industry modellers.

My work for the TEST project involved modelling over 200 dwellings to derive simulated data for project participants to refine their algorithms and then assess their ‘blind’ predictions of heat transfer coefficient. Following the modelling phase, I worked on a measurement phase conducting co-heating tests and blower door tests in a number of real houses for the TEST project.

Recent publications

  • Roberts, B.M., Allinson, D., Diamond, S., Abel, B., Das Bhaumik, C., Khatami, N., Lomas, K.J. (2019) Predictions of summertime overheating: comparison of dynamic thermal models and measurements in synthetically occupied test houses, Building Services Engineering Research and Technology, 40(4), ISSN: 0143-6244. DOI: 10.1177/0143624419847349.
  • Roberts, B.M., Allinson, D., Lomas, K.J. Prediction of overheating in synthetically occupied UK homes: dataset for validating dynamic thermal models of buildings. Figshare. DOI: 10.17028/rd.lboro.8094575.
  • Roberts, B.M., Allinson, D., Lomas, K.J. (2018) A matched pair of test houses with synthetic occupants to investigate summertime overheating, Journal of Sustainable Design & Applied Research, 6(1), pp.29-38, ISSN: 2009-549X. DOI: 10.21427/D70N8S.
  • Howarth, C. and Roberts, B.M. (2018) The role of the UK Green Deal in shaping pro-environmental behaviours: Insights from two case studies, Sustainability, 10(6), ISSN: 1937-0695. DOI: 10.3390/su10062107.
  • Roberts, B.M., Allinson, D., Lomas, K.J. and Porritt, S. (2017) The effect of refurbishment and trickle vents on airtightness: the case of a 1930s semi-detached house. Presented at the 38th AIVC - 6th TightVent - 4th venticool Conference, Nottingham, UK, 13-14 September 2017, pp.369-380. https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/32625.

Enterprise

Current projects 

  • Technical Evaluation of SMETER Technologies (TEST), Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Profile

Career 

An MSc in Energy Policy at the University of Exeter first got me thinking seriously about energy use in buildings. My research into consumer acceptance of a short-lived retrofit policy, the Green Deal, helped me understand the human side of the problems we face in reducing energy use in homes.

A knowledge transfer partnership position followed at the Global Sustainability Institute (Anglia Ruskin University) where I evaluated effective marketing strategies for new Green Deal customers in a project funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (as it then was). The industry host for my KTP was an insulation and heating engineering company. I learnt how businesses are run, how they are affected by government policy, and the way they interact with academic research.

I then joined Loughborough University to pursue a PhD in the London-Loughborough Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand. I completed an MRes degree as a prerequisite to the PhD measuring the energy saving potential of zonal heating controls.

Mitigation of summertime overheating in existing UK homes, without using air-conditioning, is my PhD research area. The intention of my PhD is to provide recommendations to occupants for maintaining safe, healthy and comfortable environments in homes during heatwaves and to create a resource of data using CIBSE TM59 window opening schedules and gain profiles to validate models.

I am currently a Research Associate working on the Technical Evaluation of SMETER Technologies (TEST) project.

Professional affiliations

  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA)

Awards

  • ABCE 2019 Research Staff Excellence for Outstanding Research

Key collaborators

My research and enterprise activities are conducted with a range of academic and stakeholder partners, including:

  • The Energy Institute, UCL
  • Halton Housing
  • Leeds Sustainability Institute, Leeds Beckett University