Research and expertise

My research expertise lies at the intersection of buildings and the energy system. I develop techniques for urban building energy modelling in the planning, design, and operational domains. In the planning domain my expertise is in leveraging opportunistics data sources to analyse opportunities for energy efficiency within an urban building stock i.e. turning data into decisions. In the design domain, I have expertise in selection, sizing and operation of building energy systems to enable the energy efficient and flexible buildings needed in the digital and decentralised society of tomorrow. In the operations domain, my expertise is in the development of model predictive control strategies to embue buildings with the intelliengence to collectively make operational decisions to contribute to better energy system operation. The underlying methods I use to develop new analytical techniques in these domains are applied control theory, system identification, optimization, times series analysis and machine learning techniques. 

Current research activity 

  • FlexTECC: Flexible Timing of Energy Consumption in Communities (EP/S001670/1, £496k, Principle Investigator)

Recently completed research projects 

  • FutureFM: Future Proofing Facitilies Management (EP/L02442X/1, £489k, Research Associate)

Recent publications

  • Howard, B, Acha, S, Shah, N, Polak, J (2019) Implicit sensing of building occupancy count with information and communication technology data sets, Building and Environment, pp.297-308, ISSN: 0360-1323. DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2019.04.015.
  • Howard, B and Modi, V (2017) Examination of the optimal operation of building scale combined heat and power systems under disparate climate and GHG emissions rates, Applied Energy, 185, pp.280-293, ISSN: 0306-2619. DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.09.108.
  • Howard, B, Waite, M, Modi, V (2017) Current and near-term GHG emissions factors from electricity production for New York State and New York City, Applied Energy, 187, pp.255-271, ISSN: 0306-2619. DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.11.061.
  • Howard, B, Saba, A, Gerrard, M, Modi, V (2014) Combined heat and power's potential to meet New York City's sustainability goals, Energy Policy, 65, pp.444-454, ISSN: 0301-4215. DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.10.033.

Teaching

I contribute to learning and teaching activities in Building Energy across the Schools programmes including:

Undergraduate

  • BArch Architecture
  • BSc in Architectural Engineering

Postgraduate

  • MRes in Energy Resilience in The Built Environmnet
  • MSc in Low Energy Building Services

Profile

I received my PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University in the City of New York. For my PhD, I was awarded a US National Science Foundation Traineeship to develop innovative approaches to “Solve Urbanization Challenges through Design”. The program combined the disciplines of engineering, architecture, and urban planning to train the next generation of interdisciplinary researchers. During my PhD, I developed an estimate of annual energy end use intensities for typical buildings in New York City, enabling an urban scale estimate of building energy demand. The paper describing the work has been highly cited (190 times since 2012) and is a foundational work in urban building energy modelling. After my PhD, I held a postdoctoral researcher post in the Urban Systems Lab in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London. During this post, I worked on an EPSRC funded project Future Proofing Facilities Management which looked to use opportunitistic data sources to enable buildings to continuously operate in optimal conditions. I was hired as a lecturer in urban energy modelling through the University led Excellence 100 intitative in 2017. In 2018, I was awarded a three year EPSRC Innovation Fellowship entitled “Flexible timing of energy consumption in communities” which is delivering novel intelligent control frameworks to enable buildings to proactively contribute to delivering the increasing requirement for energy system flexibility.

Professional affiliations

  • Member, International Building Performance and Simulation Association – England Chapter

Awards

  • UK EPSRC Innovation Fellow (EP/S001670/1, £496k)(2018-2021)
  • US National Science Foundation IGERT Fellow, 2011-2015

External activities

  • Member of EPSRC College of Peer Reviewers 
  • Expert Member, IEA EBC Annex on Energy Flexible Buildings
  • Scientific Chair, Building Simulation and Optimisation Conference 2020
  • Peer Reviewer, United States Department of Energy Building Technologies Office 

Key collaborators

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

  • Imperial College London
  • University College Cork
  • Technical University of Denmark
  • Columbia University
  • Trend Control Systems
  • Forest Rock
  • Loughborough Facilities Management