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Energy Efficiency in Social Housing

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

Research theme: Sustainable Futures

School: School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment


Nottingham City Homes (NCH), in partnership with Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has conducted this research to better understand energy usage in social housing. The project aims to monitor energy usage of a sample of current NCH housing stocks. The project focuses on cross diverse construction design of 40 homes based in Nottingham, constructed between year 1901 and 2012.

Addressing the Challenge

In order to understand the post-occupancy behaviour of building, suitable sensors have been installed for autonomous monitoring. Wireless sensors have been found to be suitable for such environments reducing the cost of installation and possible decorative damage to buildings caused by wiring. In this study temperature sensors and smart energy sensors are used to evaluate the complete energy and temperature behaviour of buildings combined with sensors to monitor some windows / doors to monitor building activities.

Infrared technology has also been used to extract information and compare between buildings. Autonomous dynamic monitoring of a building has been used to study the external dynamic nature of building performance.


Ahmad Lotfi is currently the Professor of Computational Intelligence and leading the Computational Intelligence and Applications (CIA) Research Group.

Professor Lotfi is also the Chair of the College of Arts and Science Research Degrees Committee, and is also a postgraduate Research Tutor for the School of Science and Technology. In which he is responsible for:

  • reviewing all research students' progress
  • delivery of the research methodology module for all such students
  • postgraduate induction and open events
  • contributing to the admission and interview process and to many short courses and workshops specifically designed for these students

Making a Difference

The results show that old buildings lose significant heat through solid walls, single glazing, poorly insulated loft and chimney structure with the use of inefficient boilers. The introduction of loft insulation and wall insulation has significant effect on the reduction of heat losses and improving performance. On average new build houses and flats are relatively more energy efficient compare with other archetypes.

On average houses with better insulation are three degrees warmer. The dynamic analysis of infrared thermography has confirmed the lack of performance of poorly insulated buildings. Infrared thermography result has shown that modern buildings and insulated buildings have much improved performance and can save significant amount of energy. Further work is needed to quantify the payback period of energy saving measures taking into consideration post occupancy behaviour.