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Dr Massimiliano Manfren MENg, PhD, FHEA

Lecturer in Energy in Buildings

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Dr Massimiliano Manfren is a Lecturer in Energy in Buildings in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Dr Manfren is a Lecturer within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton. He graduated in Civil Engineering at the University of Padua in 2006 and received his PhD in Building Physics in 2010 from Politecnico di Milano, with a research on the integration of urban scale policies and technologies for high efficiency multi-energy systems. His research interest focuses on analytics and predictive models for building and urban energy management, design optimization, model verification, validation and calibration under uncertainty. His research aims to establish a convergence between scientific disciplinary knowledge in building physics, building services engineering, energy efficiency and recent advances in machine learning and operation research, through an integrated use of simulation, optimization, statistics and data mining techniques.


Master’s Degree, Civil Engineering (Ingegneria Edile V.O.), University of Padua, 2006

PhD, Building Physics, Politecnico di Milano, 2010


Lecturer in Energy in Buildings, University of Southampton, 2017

Research interests

My research interests involve energy modelling and analytical tools that can be used to support energy transition processes for the built environment. Energy transitions involve the transformation of the network of players and organisations traditionally working in the energy sector (e.g., policy-makers, regulators, transmission and distribution authorities, etc.) as well as the change of the role of customers, from passive to active (i.e. prosumers and prosumagers). The analysis of building energy performance requires an understanding of both human and technical factors, highlighting the inherent socio-technical dimension of energy modelling and analytics. Fundamental problems of interest for my research are building energy performance analysis at multiple scales, harmonization of techniques for building energy data analytics, energy flexibility in the interaction with infrastructure and its relation with user behaviour.

Building energy performance analysis at multiple scales

At the state of the art, multiple options are available for energy modelling in buildings, depending on the scope of the analysis process, which range from physics based (“law driven”) “white-box” models to statistics and machine leaning based (“data driven”) “black-box” models. Indeed, it is possible to use models to simulate performance (forward modelling) and to estimate model inputs from measured performance (inverse modelling) in multiple ways. Exploiting these techniques for building performance benchmarking at multiple scales is crucial and can increase the effectiveness of policies, guaranteeing better decision-making processes, not only for policy makers but also for multiple stakeholders (e.g. designers, energy managers, investors, etc.). Further, the progressive convergence of bottom-up and top-down perspectives in energy modelling and planning for building stock can contribute to the development of “soft-linking” approaches between various types of models and, consequently, ensure consistency of actions in transition processes at multiple levels.

Harmonization of techniques for building energy data analytics

There is the need for harmonized methods that can ensure robust evidence (empirically grounded and validated) for efficiency measures, by means of reliable statistics regarding the actual impact of efficient technologies. The term "harmonized" is used here to indicate, in general, methodologies in which redundancies and overlapping features are removed; harmonized methods can help documenting performance transparently, for example by tracking evidence of energy efficiency savings (and also related carbon and cost savings) in time and detecting the impact of the fundamental factors of influence. This, in turn, can increase the credibility of energy efficiency practices and can contribute to the de-risking of investments.

Energy flexibility and user behaviour

The analysis of the “mismatch” between energy demand profiles and supply by renewables has received a great deal of attention in recent years, due to the necessity of managing electric grid with increasing penetration of renewables. In this context, the concept of energy flexibility has been introduced to account for the dynamic interaction between end-users and electric infrastructures. Energy flexibility can be defined as the ability to control demand and supply according to user needs, grid conditions and climate. More specifically, flexibility in buildings depends on the ability to use storage resources and to act on devices (including HVAC) after a trigger (e.g. time, power, energy price, etc.). Exploiting flexibility potential implies the dynamic re-setting of operating schedules and set-points trajectories, which are constrained by comfort requirements for heating and cooling services. For this reason, energy flexibility is depend both on building characteristics and user behaviour.

Research group

Energy and Climate Change

Affiliate research groups

HEART (Holistic Energy and Architectural Retrofit Toolkit), Envisioning Buildings-as-Energy-Service, LATENT: ResidentiaL HeAT As An Energy SysTem Service

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Dr Massimiliano Manfren
Engineering, University of Southampton, Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Burgess Road, Southampton, SO16 7QF

Room Number: 178/4013/B1

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