Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering


Dr Oliver Martin-Du Pan


Operational performance assessment of decentralised energy and district heating systems

Project Title

Post Occupancy Evaluation of Decentralised Energy Systems


Buro Happold


Professor Phil Eames
Dr Paul Rowley

Mr Alasdair Young

Director of Research:
Professor Stephen Ison

Research Period

2009 - 2014

Post Occupancy Evaluation of Decentralised Energy Systems


Decentralised energy systems are seen as part of the solution to reduce carbon emissions for cities. However, their performance is complex, and the benefits of some elements of them may be outweighed by impacts in other areas e.g. distribution losses. Their operational performance is also not well reported, although is expected to be well understood by the firms that operate them. There are additional dimensions of performance that should also be considered in optimising design, particularly relating to water use, noise and air quality.

Aims and Objectives

The proposal is to develop multi-dimensional appraisal of effectiveness of decentralised energy systems, covering all of the following and more factors as they become apparent:

  • Total system carbon emissions, including water
  • Air quality analysis
  • Financial and risk management assessments
  • Operational performance; cost, reliability, variation in efficiency, acceptability to users, control
  • Different combined heat and power (CHP) technologies
  • System optimisation
  • Barriers and enablers, effectiveness of incentives
  • Future adaptability to fuel changes, carbon factors, prices, emerging technologies
  • Space analysis
  • Fuel poverty assessmentDistrict system vs. electricity and gas infrastructure
  • Zero carbon economy with a decentralised strategy assessment


  • Obtaining access to decentralised energy plant to measure their performance.
  • Using specialised tools/softwares to assess these systems
  • Development of multi-factor assessment approach for decentralised systems

Benefits/Expected Outcomes

  • Understand the operational effectiveness of decentralised energy systems in the UK and worldwide; including a full understanding of CHP technologies, boilers and cooling technology performances.
  • Understand the environmental benefit or impact from these systems, including carbon emission and water consumption.
  • Understand the financial risk assessment and the business of incorporating this technology in cities.
  • What are the barriers to the take up of these systems? Geographical? Financial? Technological? Legal?



Contact us

+44 (0)1509 222623

The Centre Administrator
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

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