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Photo of Ben Roberts stood outside the Loughborough test houses

Loughborough academic wins award for research into the dangers of summertime overheating in homes

Ben Roberts, a PhD student in the London-Loughborough Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand, has been awarded the Carter Bronze Medal by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) for the research paper he led on summertime overheating of houses.

The award is presented to the highest-rated paper of the year on research application published in the journal Building Services Engineering Research and Technology (BSER&T).

The paper, co-authored by Ben Roberts, Dr David Allinson, Susie Diamond, Ben Abel, Dr Claire Das Bhaumik, Dr Narguess Khatami and Professor Kevin Lomas, is entitled ‘Predictions of summertime overheating: Comparison of dynamic thermal models and measurements in synthetically occupied test houses.’

Researchers from the Building Energy Research Group (BERG), in the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering worked as a collaborative team with leading building modellers from industry to compare overheating measurements to model predictions. Models are commonly used to predict overheating when designing homes. If overheating is not accurately predicted, necessary overheating mitigations may not be incorporated into the design and homes may overheat, which is a serious risk to people’s health and wellbeing.

The team took measurements in test houses, owned by Loughborough University, and four expert industry modellers built models of the test houses to see if they could replicate the measurements.  The paper provides building modellers with a firm basis on which to determine whether their overheating predictions are robust, and assist in the design of buildings that are safe and comfortable for occupants in summer, without the use of air-conditioning.

Ben Roberts said: “It is a great honour to receive the CIBSE Carter Bronze Medal for our research on summertime overheating prediction in UK homes. Being recognised by a professional organisation like CIBSE helps to expose our research to practitioners, where it can have the greatest impact. I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with industry partners who were key to the authenticity of this work.”

Ben Abel, Technical Director and Head of Research and Development, Hilson Moran Partnership Ltd said: “We are very proud of our collaborative research with our partners at Loughborough University and Inkling LLP and it is very rewarding to receive recognition from the CIBSE. In order to improve our building designs we need more of this type of research to ensure our predictive models translate to real improvements in the end product. This will lead to buildings that provide real benefits to the end user in terms of a comfortable, low energy, low carbon building design.”

Dr Claire Das Bhaumik, Partner, Inkling Partnership LLP added: “This research is a successful example of collaboration between industry and academia and involved a fantastic team with a wealth of experience and knowledge.”

The research would not have been possible without the unique, matched pair of houses that have been created, instrumented, and maintained by Loughborough University.

The full paper is available to read here.