Buildings globally account for more than a third of global energy use and carbon emissions, and nearly half of all energy use in the UK. This talk considers the basic physics of energy use in buildings, and how to design very low energy buildings. However, with unfamiliar technology and a warming climate, this can bring its own problems of poor installation, overheating, and users not understanding how to control their building. This requires a multi-disciplinary approach to finding solutions. Low carbon alternatives to gas heating are then considered, and some research being carried out at De Montfort on inter-seasonal storage of solar heat is described. Finally, as we move away from gas to electric heating, and generate more electricity on site, the evolution of buildings from passive consumers to active participants in the electricity system is considered.
Andy Wright is Reader in Building Engineering Physics in the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development at De Montfort University, Leicester. Before that he was at the University of Manchester, and EA Technology near Chester. He has a BSc in Applied Maths, MSc in Atmospheric Physics and PhD in building modelling, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and Member of the Energy Institute. He is married with four children and lives in Rutland.