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iSBET (Innovative and Sustainable Built Environment Technologies)

Unit(s) of assessment: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning

Research theme: Sustainable Futures

School: School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment


An internationally leading multidisciplinary engineering research group that helps to advance knowledge in the field of innovative and sustainable built environment technologies and management. Our work supports the economic competitiveness and improves quality of life with in the research areas of Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Green Buildings and Innovation in Design and Management.

The Innovative and Sustainable Built Environment Technologies (iSBET) research group investigates the technical, economic, management and application related performance of a range of sustainable and innovative technologies in the built environment field.

Our research has two key areas:

Sustainable Technologies

  • Energy efficiency – Improving energy efficiency in buildings and other engineering systems within the built environment including Smart building technologies.
  • Low carbon buildings – Improving energy consumption through improvement in materials and the fabric of the building.
  • Renewable energy – Developing better understanding and technologies for renewable energy generation on small scale within the context of the built environment.
  • Innovation in design and management – Developing innovative management systems and approaches for sustainability, including business and operational management disciplines.
  • Enabling technologies – The iSBET research group uses diversity of enabling technologies including, condition monitoring, infrared thermography, sensors and instrumentations, construction technologies, materials technology, production and manufacturing technologies, smart buildings technology, condition based maintenance (CBM), artificial intelligence, finite element analysis, heating and air-conditioning technologies, thermodynamics, control systems, human centred design, building services, design innovation, architectural technology, augmented reality systems, civil, manufacturing, mechanical, electrical and mechatronics engineering, computer engineering and computer science, business and management.

District Heating

Nottingham is home to one of the largest District Heating Networks in the UK, comprised of over 40 miles of insulated pipework and connected to 4,700 dwellings and over 100 commercial premises including the city's two main shopping centres, Nottingham Trent University (NTU), Nottingham Arena, theatres, etc.. The heat energy mainly comes from the annual incineration of 160,000 tonnes of municipal waste at Eastcroft incinerator, and provides around 375,000MW of high-pressure steam. This provides a low carbon fuel source using energy recovered from waste and offsets approximately 27,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions that would otherwise be produced by alternative use of gas. The team at NTU is working on projects with Nottingham City Council and Enviroenergy, the company that manage the district heating system to modernise and further develop the district heating Network. The work is concentrated on:

  • Development of low temperature district heating (LTDH) with up to 75% reduction of the transmission heat loses. The LTDH can be connected to renewables like thermal solar and various heat pumps.
  • The usage of distributed energy storage systems to reduce the heat load variations, both seasonal and daily, and reduce the additional costs in district heating systems to be able to cover the peak loads.
  • Introduction of smart metering devices. The smart units can collect energy consumption data in each dwelling in real time that would give the network operator the option to remotely do optimisations or even send energy saving tips to occupiers, thus increase system efficiency, plus remotely monitor functionality that would allow the operator to identify possible service and maintenance interventions before total failure require break down call outs.
  • Development of intelligent control system will enable citizens' engagement and empowerment through provision of open, consistent data and performance measurements in real time, allowing predictive simulations, dissemination and unlocking the market for innovative applications to serve the user needs.

DTA-Energy: Tackling global energy challenges

Doctoral Training Alliance logo

Doctoral Training Alliance for Energy (DTA) connects students and staff from across Alliance institutions. It builds on our research strengths and industry-focused ethos. It focuses on producing doctoral graduates equipped with the skills and experience to tackle the global challenge of ensuring future security and sustainability of energy supplies and the management of energy demand.

Press coverage

Below are links to external press coverage on research work done by the iSBET research group and its team members.

Building Walls from Recycled Paper:

The Guardian

Libya and Renewable Energy:

Sustainable Assessment of SME's Business in Libya:

The BBC News Derby and BBC News website discuss a new type of wind turbine being developed by Nottingham Trent University for a Derbyshire inventor.

This groups research contributed towards the Sustainable Technologies in the Built Environment Impact Case Study for REF 2014.

  • Nottingham's Victoria Centre flats, in infrared light
    ISBET - victoria
    Nottingham's Victoria Centre flats, in infrared light, showing heat loss
  • Four building types, in infrared light
    ISBET - four buildings
    Four building types, in infrared light, showing heat loss


Sustainable Technologies

  • Alkane Energy plc
    Alkane Energy is the UK's leading coal mine methane (CMM) producer. Alkane Energy has unrivalled expertise in the design, build and operation of methane gas fuelled power plants. Find out more about the project between Nottingham Trent University and Alkane Energy, investigating how energy could be harnessed from disused flooded coal mines to provide a renewable heat source that can help society and industry by reducing carbon emissions.
  • Nottingham City Homes
    Nottingham City Homes manages Nottingham City Council's rented and leasehold homes, responsible for the day to day management of around 29,000 homes including services such as repairs, rent collection and tenancy management.
    Infrared Integrated Systems Ltd (Irisys) is a global leader in thermal imaging, people counting technologies and real time queue management solutions.
  • Wind Power Innovations Ltd - developers of new style turbine to harvest wind energy
  • Burgess Architectural Products Ltd
    Leading manufacturers of high performance metal ceiling systems.
  • Oxsensis
    Sensor technology.
  • Enerlux
    Managing the supply and installation of solar PV solutions and solar hot water systems for the home, private business and public sector buildings.
  • Lindhurst Engineering
    Innovation engineers: embracing engineering challenges and to create bespoke solutions.
  • Permashutter
    Permashutter offer a construction product design and manufacture service.
  • Bentley Systems
    Bentley is the global leader dedicated to providing architects, engineers, geospatial professionals, constructors, and owner-operators with comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure.
  • Buro Happold
    Forefront of low energy design.
  • PLP Architecture
    PLP Architecture is a London-based group of architects, designers and thinkers who value the transformative role of ideas and the capacity for architecture to inspire.
  • Foster and Partners - architecture and planning, product design and workplace consultancy
  • AECom
    Architecture, sustainability, design and planning.
  • Autodesk
    Pioneers in the world of computer-aided design (CAD).
  • Biddle Air Systems
    Providing solutions based on knowledge, quality and reliability for climate solutions.

Heat Networks

  • Nottingham City Council
  • Enviroenergy
  • Nottingham City Homes
  • Nottingham Energy Partnership (NEP)
  • SASIE Ltd (UK)
  • CARTIF (Spain)
  • Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria
  • University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Hannover, Germany

Smart Heat Network Forum: The third meeting of the series of Smart Heat Network Forums was held on 18 June at Nottingham Trent University with two lectures presented by Paul Wood from AECOM and Dr Anton Ianakiev from NTU. The first two of these events attracted over 20 external delegates, drawn from supply chain businesses, operators, local authorities and end users. This third forum will continue to stimulate discussion and look to promote research activity in District Heating and Heat Networks as UK interest and activity grows.

For academic enquiries please contact the Research Group Leader Professor Amin Al-Habaibeh. For further information on business collaborations please contact Chris Davison, College Business Development Manager.

Working With Us

Whether you are an international or a local organisation from the public, private or charity sector, working with the Innovative and Sustainable Built Environment Technologies (iSBET) will help you towards developing your business further and increasing your profit, productivity and product innovation. The cutting-edge expertise within the research group can also provide you with technical as well as strategic and management guidance towards enhancing the future of your business.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss further any collaborative opportunities.

For academic opportunities please contact Professor Amin Al-Habaibeh.

For business opportunities please contact Chris Davison, College Business Development Manager.

Related staff

Group Leader:

Dr Amin Al-Habaibeh, Professor of Intelligent Engineering Systems

Academic Staff & Associate Members:

The iSBET multidisciplinary research group includes a diversity of engineering, technical, management and business subjects areas. Our PhD students work across colleges and across research groups to advance technologies and knowledge.

Visiting Scholars:

  • Dr Senthan Mathavan

Research Students and Graduates:

  • A. Al-Azmi - The design of an effective sensor fusion model for condition monitoring systems of turning processes (2008).
  • Ahmed Mohammed - Investigation into the feasibility of the utilisation of renewable energy resources in Libya.
  • Bubaker Shakmak - Sensor fusion for water leak detection system.
  • Bryce Gilroy-Scott - Development of an ecological footprinting method for building construction and
  • Milad Elgargani - Condition monitoring using sensory fusion system and artificial intelligence.
  • Hooi Chuan Cheah - Development of an environmentally friendly floor panel system.
  • Joshua Umveni - Structural and sustainability assessment of deployable structures (Oct. 2012-2015) external grant.
  • Julian Robinson - Investigation into the exact conditions at which moisture causes decay in straw bales.
  • James Ward - The study of ETFE foil, ETFE cushions and their uses in the building industry.
  • Lim Kok-Khoon - Modelling of the rotational moulding process for the manufacture of plastic products (2000-2004) NTU Research Enhancement Fund.
  • Mustafa Graisa - An investigation into current production challenges facing the Libyan cement industry and the need for innovative total productive maintenance (TPM) strategy (2011).
  • Markus Balz - Multiple layer membrane structures.
  • Michelle Cui - A study on post-occupancy behavioural patterns and their impacts on the simulation of
    energy consumption in the UK's residential buildings.
  • Shoab Alamin - The development of sustainable water management strategy in Libya.
  • Saied Yaseen - The design of a sensor fusion model for monitoring people's density in large public places.
  • Valentina Di Maria - Resins in timber connections (Feb. 2013-2016) NTU Research Enhancement Fund.


Amin Al-habaibeh

  • S. Yaseen, A. Al-Habaibeh, D. Su and F. Otham 2013.Real-Time Crowd Density Mapping using a Novel Sensory Fusion Model of Infrared and Visual Systems, Safety Science Journal,57,pp.313-325
  • A.Ahmed M.A. Mohamed, A.Al-Habaibeh, H.Abdo, 2013. An investigation into the current utilisation and prospective of renewable energy resources and technologies in Libya Original Research Article, Renewable Energy,50, pp.732-740.
  • A. Al-Habaibeh, D. Su, J. McCague, A. Knight, 2010. An innovative approach for energy generation from waves, Energy Conversion and Management, 51, (8),pp.1664-1668.
  • S.Ashraf, E.Muhammad, A.Al-Habaibeh,2008. Self-learning control systems using identification based adaptive iterative learning controller, The proceedings of the institution of mechanical engineers, Part C, Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science, 222(C7), PP.1177-1187.

View Amin Al-habaibeh's full publication list

Alan Fewkes

  • Fewkes, A. 2012. A review of rainwater harvesting in the UK, Structural Survey, Vol 30, No 2, pp 174 - 194.
  • S. Alamin, A. Fewkes and S. Goodhew. Investigating the sustainability of water management in Alwahat, Libya. Sixth International Conference Sustainable on City 14 – 16 April A Coruña, Spain.
  • Fewkes, A. Rainwater Harvesting Systems: Is their potential being realised? 1st International Conference on Sustainable Water Management in Developing Countries (SWM2010), Sindh, Pakistan, 15 – 17 September.
  • Fewkes, A.,The field testing of a rainwater harvesting system, pp 643 – 649. Proceedings of the combined international conference of computing and control for the water industry (CCW12007) and sustainable urban water management (SUWM2007), De Montfort Leicester, UK, 3-5 September 2007. Published in Water Management Challenges in Global Change, Ulanicki et al (eds), Taylor and Francis Group, London, ISBN 978-0-415-45415-5.
  • Fewkes, A.,The verification of a behavioural model for simulating the hydraulic performance of a rainwater harvesting systems. Rainwater and Urban Design Conference 2007, 21 – 23 August Sydney, Australia, ISBN 1 877040 614.
  • Fewkes, A., The Technology, Design and Utility of Rainwater Catchment Systems : A literature review in ‘Water Demand Management' Butler, D. and Memmon, F. A. (Ed.), IWA Publishing, London.

View Alan Fewkes' full publication list

Anton Ianakiev

  • A.Ianakiev and Greenwood,J., 2013. Design and Analysis of Rotomoulded Panels for a Self Erecting Low Cost Flood Barrier. Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 9 (2), pp.110-120
  • A. Ianakiev and J. Darkwa,2012. Fast algorithm for modelling of fluid flow and heat transfer in rotomoulding, International Journal Design Engineering,5 (2), pp.142-157
  • K. Radlov, V. Panov, A. Ianakiev, 2012. Accident scenario and seismic stability of polar crane operating at a nuclear power plant, International Journal Design Engineering, 5 (1), pp. 41-64.
  • A. Ianakiev, Modelling of Complex Structures using Super-elements, International Journal of Design Engineering,1 (4) 2008, pp.396-411.

View Anton Ianakiev's full publication list

Benachir Medjdoub

  • Medjdoub, B., 2009. Constraint-based adaptation for complex space configuration in building services. Journal of Information Technology in Construction (ITcon), 14 (special issue), pp. 724-735.
  • Veliz, A., Medjdoub, B. and Kocaturk, T., 2011. Bridging the gap in constraint-based design. In: P. LECLERCQ, A. Heylighen and G. Martin, eds., CAAD Futures 2011: Designing Together, 14th International Conference on Computer Aided Architectural Design, University of Liège, Belgium, 4-8 July 2011. Liège: Les Éditions de l'Université de Liège, pp. 133-147
  • Eliz, A., Kocaturk, T., Medjdoub, B. and Balbo, R., 2012. Dialogs between physical and digital modelling methods on architectural design. In: H. Achten, J. Pavlicek, J. Hulin and D. Matejdan, eds., Digital Physicality: 30th eCAADe Conference, Faculty of Architecture, Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic, 12-14 September 2012. eCAADe (the Association for Education and research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe), pp. 281-289.
  • Medjdoub, B., 2013. A constraint-based parametric model to support building services design exploration, Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 9.

View Benachir Medjdoub's full publication list