Kevin Lomas

Professor Kevin Lomas

BSc PhD DSc CEng FCIBSE MEI

  • Professor of Building Simulation
  • Division Lead, Architecture and Building
  • Director, Loughborough, Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Resilience and Built Environment

Research and expertise

I am building physicist with over 35 years of experience in building energy and environment research and low-energy building consultancy. I have secured 35 research grants, published over 140 refereed publications and supervised 40 PhD students. 

Trained as a civil engineer, I developed an interest in modelling heat and mass transport which led to research work developing and validating dynamic thermal models of buildings. The models were applied to support the architectural design of large, low-energy, naturally ventilated public buildings. 

In recent years I have been particularly interested in understanding and quantifying the energy demand of, and indoor conditions in UK dwellings. This research is pursued through large scale field studies involving monitoring, surveys and questionnaire studies. More detailed investigations are undertaken using our own test houses in which we mimic occupant behaviour, window and door opening, and the use of hot water, appliances and heating. Findings are extrapolated through models, either empirical models or first-principle, building physics models. 

The use of our own primary datasets and others’ secondary data has enabled the development of a method for rating UK homes based on their measured, rather than predicted, energy demand. Patterns of heating within the national housing stock, and the implications of electrification of heat, have been identified. 

Our measurement of indoor temperatures revealed the extent and severity of overheating, which led the UK Committee on Climate Change to press the government to act. Various guidelines and standards, and possible changes to the building regulations, now seek to prevent overheating in new homes. 

Current research activity 

  • Reducing the Impact of Extreme Heat to Improve Well-being in Cities (REFIT), British Academy, GCRF fund: £300k. 
  • The UK Energy Follow-up Survey, BEIS, via the BRE, £59k.
  • Smart Meter Research Portal, EPSRC, £90k. 
  • Active Buildings Centre, EPSRC, £339k.
  • Technical Evaluation of SMETER technologies, EPSRC, £335k.
  • London-Loughborough Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand, Phase 2, EPSRC, £2.1M. http://www.lolo.ac.uk
  • EPSRC and SFI CDT in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment, EPSRC, £2.4M. https://erbecdt.ac.uk/

Recently completed research projects

  • Low carbon climate-responsive Heating and Cooling of Cities (LoHCool), EPSRC, £39k.
  • Digital Energy Feedback and Control Technology Optimisation (DEFACTO), EPSRC, £1.5M.
  • Smart Community Energy Network (SCENe), Innovate UK, £419k.
  • London-Loughborough Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand, Phase 1, EPSRC, £2.8M. 

Recent publications

  • Gustin M, McLeod RS, Lomas KJ, Petrou G, Mavrogianni A. A high-resolution indoor heat-health warning system for dwellings. (2020) Building and Environment.  Vol. 168, 12pp.  Doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2019.106519. Available online 02 November 2019. Open Access (OA). 
  • Lomas KJ, Beizaee A, Allinson D, Haines VJ, Beckhelling J, Loveday DL, Porritt SM, Mallaband B, Morton A, A domestic operational rating for UK homes: Concept, formulation and application. Energy and Buildings, Vol. 201, pp 90-117, (2019). ISSN: 0378-7788. doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2019.07.021. Available online 12 July 2019. Open Access (OA). 
  • Li M, Allinson D and Lomas KJ, Estimation of building heat transfer coefficients from in-use data: impacts of unmonitored energy flows. International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, 20pp (2019). ISSN: 2398-4708. doi: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJBPA-02-2019-0022 
  • Roberts BM, Allinson D, Diamond S, Abel B, Bhaumik CD, Khatami N and Lomas KJ, Predictions of summertime overheating: Comparison of dynamic thermal models and measurements in synthetically occupied test houses. Building Services Engineering Research and Technology, Vol 40, Iss. 4, pp 512-552 (2019). doi.org/10.1177/0143624419847349. Available online 5 May 19. OA 
  • Gustin M, McLeod RS and Lomas KJ, Can semi-parametric additive models outperform linear models, when forecasting indoor climatic conditions? Energy and Buildings, Vol. 193, 15 June 2019, pp 250-266 (2019). ISSN: 0378-7788. doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2019.03.048. Available online 26 March 2019. OA.  
  • Watson SD, Lomas KJ and Buswell RA, Decarbonising domestic heating: What is the peak GB demand? Energy Policy 126, March 2019, pp 533-544 (2019). ISSN: 0301-4215. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2018.11.001. Available online 11 December 2018. OA.
  • Gustin M, McLeod RS and Lomas KJ, Forecasting indoor temperatures during heatwaves using time series models. Building and Environment, 29pp, 2018. ISSN: 0360-1323. doi: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2018.07.045. Available on line 27 July 2018. OA.
  • Lomas KJ, Oliveira S, Warren P, Haines VJ, Chatterton T, Beizaee A, Prestwood E and Gething B, Do domestic heating controls save energy? A review of the evidence. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol. 93, pp 52-75, October (2018). doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2018.05.002. Available on line 23 May 2018. OA.
  • Fifield LJ, Lomas KJ, Giridharan R, and Allinson D, Hospital wards and off-site modular construction: Summertime overheating and energy efficiency. Building and Environment, 141, pp 28-44, 15 August (2018). doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2018.05.041. Available on line 19 May 2018. OA 
  • Jack R, Loveday DL, Allinson D and Lomas KJ, First evidence for the reliability of building co-heating tests, Building Research and Information, Vol 46, No. 4, pp 383-401, (2017).  ISSN 0961-3218. doi:10.1080/09613218.2017.129952. Available on line 27 March 2017. OA.
  • Lomas KJ and Porritt SM, Overheating in buildings: lessons from research. Building Research & Information, 45(1-2), pp 1-18, (2017), ISSN 0961-3218. doi:10.1080/09613218.2017.1256136. Available on line 30 November 2016. OA
  • Jones RV and Lomas KJ, Determinants of high electrical energy demand in UK homes: Appliance ownership and use. Energy and Buildings, 117, pp71-82, (2016). doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2016.02.020. Available on line 12 February 2016. OA.
  • Allinson D, Irvine KN, Edmondson JL, Tiwari A, Morris J, Hill G, Bell MC, Davies ZG, Firth SK, Fisher J, Gaston KJ, Leake JR, McHugh N, Namdeo A, Rylatt M and Lomas KJ, Measurement and analysis of household carbon: the case of a UK city, Applied Energy, 164, pp 871-881, (2016). DOI 10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.11.054. Available November 2015. OA.
  • Morris J, Allinson D, Harrison J and Lomas KJ, Benchmarking and tracking domestic gas and electricity consumption at the local authority level, Energy Efficiency, 9(3), pp 723-743, (2016). DOI 10.1007/s12053-015-9393-8. Available on line 15 09 15. ISSN: 1570-646X. OA.
  • Jones RV and Lomas KJ, Determinants of high electrical energy demand in UK homes: socio-economic and dwelling characteristics. Energy and Buildings, 101, pp24-34 (2015).10.1016/j.enbuild.2015.04.052. Available on line 09 May 2015. OA.
  • Beizaee A, Allinson D, Lomas KJ, Foda E and Loveday DL, Measuring the Potential of Zonal Space Heating Controls to Reduce Energy use in UK homes: the case of 1930s dwellings. Energy and Buildings, Vol. 92, p29-44 (2015). 10.1016/j.enbuild.2015.01.040. OA.
  • Short CA, Giridharan R, Lomas, KJ. A medium-rise 1970’s maternity hospital in the east of England: resilience and adaptation to climate change. Building Services Engineering Research and Technology, 36(2), Special Issue on Overheating and Indoor Air Quality, pp1-28 (2015) 10.1177/0143624414567544. OA. 
  • Jones RV, Fuertes A and Lomas KJ, The socio-economic, dwelling and appliance related factors affecting electricity consumption in domestic buildings. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 43, pp901-917 (2015) 10.1016/j.rser.2014.11.084. OA.
  • Iddon CR, Mills TC, Giridharan R and Lomas KJ, The influence of hospital ward design on resilience to heat waves: an exploration using distributed lag models. Energy and Buildings, 86, pp573-588 (2015) 10.1016/j.enbuild.2014.09.053. Available on line 29 Oct. 2014. OA.
  • Kane T, Firth SK and Lomas KJ, How are UK homes heated? A city-wide, socio-technical survey and implications for energy modelling. Energy and Buildings, 86, pp817-832. (2015) 10.1016/j.enbuild.2014.10.011. Available in line 14 Oct. 2014. OA.

Teaching

My principle teaching activities are associated with my role as the Loughborough Director of the London-Loughborough Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Energy Demand and, since 2019, the Directorship of the CDT for Energy Resilience and the Built Environment.  

I developed, with others, the Master of Research (MRes) in Energy Demand Studies, was responsible for, and taught on various modules, and supervised the CDT students’ MRes and PhD projects.  I contribute to our Low Energy Building Services MSc, and occasionally teach on undergraduate courses.  

Postgraduate

  • Programme Lead: MRes in Energy Demand Studies (EDS).
  • EDS Module Lecturer: Energy Demand in Context; Energy Systems and Models; Energy Theory Measurement and Interpretation. 
  • EDS Responsible examiner: Society, Economics and People; Research Dissertation.
  • Supervision of PhD students in the area of building energy demand 
  • Leadership of taught courses for the CDT programme in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment.

Current projects 

  • The UK Energy Follow-up survey, with the BRE, for BEIS, £59k.
  • Technical Evaluation of SMETER technologies, BEIS, £335k.

Recently completed projects

  • Kingfisher Plc: Domestic energy efficiency products and targeting.
  • Analysing data from ETI’s Consumer Response Behaviour project, Energy Technologies Institute.
  • Scoping Review on the Evidence for Heating Controls, Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Consultancies

  • ETI, Smart systems and heat, Consultant selection panel
  • MHCLG, Overheating of Dwellings, Advisory Panel

Profile

My career is founded on a degree in Civil Engineering from Nottingham University (1977) and a PhD in geotechnical engineering (1981). After a brief period lecturing at Loughborough University, in 1984 I took a post-doctoral position at De Montfort University (DMU) (then Leicester Polytechnic) to develop methods of validating dynamic thermal models of buildings, a post that set the direction of my future career.  

In 1986 I became a lecture at DMU teaching environmental design in the School of Architecture and progressed to Reader then, in 1996, Professor. Grant funding from the Department of Energy and the BRE supported my research on the development and validation of thermal models of buildings. Through the International Energy Agency, I co-ordinated the world’s largest empirical validation exercise of dynamic thermal models of buildings. Validation of daylighting and CFD models was explored with PhD students, Mardaljevic and Cook respectively, both of whom are now world-leading researchers. Validation is now firmly established in international guidelines and standards.

Between 2000 and 2008 I was the Director of the Institute of Energy and Sustainability at DMU, a financially autonomous centre sustained by research and development work, post-graduate teaching and consultancy. Our expertise in energy, CFD and daylight modelling secured consultancy work from architects and engineers to support the design of 20 large, low-energy, naturally ventilated, public sector buildings. Many of these won engineering and architectural awards. Research on building energy and environment models gradually declined as the models migrated from research centres to mainstream professional practice.

Following a sabbatical at Cambridge University in 2008/09, I moved, with others from DMU, to take up a chair in the, now called, School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering at Loughborough University. Research concerns about the sustainability of urban areas and the needs to understanding the actual energy demands of buildings took centre stage; a research thread made possible by the advent of small, low-cost sensors and the internet of things. Large-scale field trials, in hospitals and homes, has provided a picture of the factors influencing energy demand, and the success, or otherwise, of refurbishment strategies and heating controls for reducing this demand. Unexpectedly, the work also revealed the serious problem of overheating in UK homes.

Since 2009, I have been the Director of the London-Loughborough Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Energy Demand and more recently the CDT in Energy Resilience and the Built Environment. The Centres will train over 150 PhD students who will be the future leaders in the struggle to create a safe, secure, clean and socially equitable energy system for the built environment.

Professional affiliations

  • Chartered Engineer (CEng)
  • Member of the Energy Institute (MEI)
  • European Engineer (Eur Eng)
  • Member of the Institute of Learning and Teaching
  • Fellow of the Institution of Building Services Engineers (FCIBSE)

 Awards

Personal awards

  • Personal Leverhulme Research Award, 2008.
  • Visiting Fellow then Life Fellow: Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, 2008.
  • DSc, Building Simulation, Low Energy Design and Sustainable Urban Environments, University of Nottingham, 2012.

Research awards

  • Department for Energy and Climate Change: How Trends in Appliances Affects Domestic CO2Emissions: a Review of Home and Garden Appliances. First prize for Consultancy, Loughborough University Enterprise Awards in 2010.
  • CIBSE Carter Bronze Medal, best application paper in BSERT journal 2016.

External Activities

Consultancy and Professional Practice

Design and development of the ventilation and control systems for the following naturally ventilated buildings. The work was undertaken as part of a team with colleagues and professional architects and engineers.

  • Queens Building: Natural ventilation strategy and evaluation for lecture theatre, De Montfort University (Green Building of the Year 1995, RIBA Award 1995, HJ Dyos Prize 1994) [with Peake, Short and Partners]
  • Torrent Pharmaceuticals: Evaporative cooling strategy, Ahmedabad, India (Award for Excellent in Architecture 2002) [with Ford Assoc.]
  • Ruskin Archive: Passive thermal control strategy evaluation [for MacCormack, Jamieson, Prichard]
  • Australia Stadium Sydney Olympics 1996: Natural ventilation strategy proposal and evaluation, solar control and comfort [with Lobb Partnership for Multiplex Australia]
  • Coventry University Library: Natural ventilation strategy evaluation (Overall winner of the IMBM Awards 2001; ICE Midland Award for Outstanding Environmental Achievement 2001; Brick Awards 2000, Best Public Building; SCONUL Library Design Award 2002) [with Short and Assoc.]
  • Merchant Taylors Hall: Improved ventilation under aesthetic constraints [with Short and Assoc.] 
  • Cellular Operations HQ, Swindon: Thermal comfort and mechanical ventilation system design [for Curona Design] 
  • De Montfort University: Polhill Campus Library Resources Centre [with Short and Assoc.] 
  • Millennium Park Visitors Centre, Leicester: Sustainable building and renewable energy systems design [for Oadby and Wigston Borough Council]
  • Lichfield Civic Theatre: Natural ventilation design and evaluation (M4I Sustainability Demonstration Project 2004; CIBSE Project of the Year 2004) [with Short and Assoc.]
  • Magee College: Natural ventilation of Learning Resource Centre [for BDP Consulting] 
  • Thames Valley U.: Library natural ventilation and daylight strategy [with Short and Assoc.]
  • Judson College, Chicago, Illinois: Library and design faculty, environmental control strategy (Earth Stewardship Grant, US Federal Government, $7.5m; Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation $200k grant; and the Kresge Foundation $600k) [with Short and Assoc.]
  • Harper Adams University: Natural ventilation of Learning Resources Centre [for Fabre Maunsell]
  • Leicester City West Primary Health Care Trust: Braunstone Health and Social Care Centre (Sustainable Development of the Year Award, Leicestershire 2005)[with Short and Assoc.]
  • University College London: Innovative ventilation for new School of Slavonic & East European Studies (RIBA Regional Award 2006; Building to the Limits Exhibition, Science Museum, London 2006; Brick Awards Best Public Building 2006; CIBSE Environmental Initiative of the Year Award 2006; Gold Medal – RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding Professional Practice-located Research, 2006, sub. by Short & Assoc, incs. Judson College research) [with Short & Assoc.] 
  • De Montfort University: Campus centre building and theatres, Bedford [with Short and Assoc.]
  • Science and Technology Museum Project of Green Buildings: Hangzhou, China, for Chinese Energy Conservation Investment Corp. (CECIC). 
  • Watford Hospital Public Sector Comparator [with Short and Assoc.]
  • Papworth Hospital, Architectural Design Competition team [with Skanska]

Peer Review of Research

  • Member of the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014, Sub-panel C16 - Architecture, Built Environment and Planning (2011 - 14).
  • Deputy Convenor for the Hong Kong Research Assessment Exercise 2020, Built Environment Panel (2017 -).
  • EPSRC (formerly SERC) Review College.
  • Hong Kong University Grants Committee (1993 -). 
  • National Science and Eng. Research Council, Canada (2014).
  • The Leverhulme Trust (2018).

Journal Review

  • Editorial Board, Buildings and Cities (2019 - ).
  • Building Services Engineering Research and Technology (1986 -); 
  • Editorial Board, Energy & Buildings (1989 -); 
  • Energy & Environment (1989 -); 
  • Engineering Construction & Architecture Management (1995); 
  • Solar Energy (2003 - 2010); 
  • Building Research and Information (2006 - 2018);
  • Environment and Planning B (2006); 
  • Journal of Building Performance Simulation (2009 -); 
  • Science of the Total Environment (2016); 
  • Engineering Sustainability (2016); 
  • Public Health (2017).

 Government, Institutions and Charity Advisory Groups 

  • Dept. of Energy, Test Cell Advisory Group (1991); 
  • Dept of Energy, Methodology Steering Committee (1991); 
  • BRECSU, LT Method Review Committee (1993); 
  • CIBSE Working Group J, A2 Guide (2001); 
  • CREST Advisory Board, Loughborough University, (2003-09); 
  • Edinburgh Research Partnership (ERP), Joint Research Initiative (JRI) in Engineering and Mathematics, for Edinburgh U. (2005-10); 
  • ODPM, ‘Sustainability impact study of additional housing’, report review (2006)
  • CIBSE Weather Data Task Force (2007-09); 
  • Elm Tree Mews Housing Field Trials, Adv. Panel, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2008-10); 
  • English Housing Survey and Modelling, Advisory Panel, Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd, for DECC, (2010); 
  • Energy Demand Reduction Prog. Review, Adv. Panel, OFGEM, for AECOM (2010); 
  • Standard Assessment Procedure Scientific Integrity Group, BRE, then Robust Details, 2016 -
  • MHCLG, Overheating of Dwellings, Advisory Panel (2017-18).

Research Funding Organisations

  • EPSRC, Energy Kernal System Review Committee (SERC) (1989); 
  • EPSRC, UK-China Link (2008); Challenging Engineering (2008); 
  • EPSRC, Doctoral Training Centres, Outline Submission Panel (2009); 
  • EPSRC, Energy Efficiency and the Digital Economy Advisory Group (2009); 
  • EdF/EPSRC People Energy and Buildings (2010).
  • EPSRC, Process, Environment and Sustainability, Engineering Strategic Advisory Team.
  • NERC, UK Energy Research Centre, Renewal Panel (2009).
  • ETI, Micro-Distributed Energy call, Selection Panel (2009); Optimising Thermal Efficiency of Existing Housing, Advisory Panel (2011-12); 
  • ETI Smart systems and heat, Consultant selection panel (2015).

Key collaborators

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

  • Numerous UK Universities including: UCL, Cambridge University, Universities in the Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland centre, Leeds Becket University, Swansea University, Bath University, Nottingham University, Cardiff University, Imperial College.
  • Various government departments most notably the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
  • A range of commercial companies, including the Building Research Establishment, Energy de France, Secure, Honeywell, Siemens and Simble.