Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

Energy and Buildings Research

The built environment accounts for around 40% of all energy use. To realise a low carbon future we must clearly address this sector. Our research in energy and buildings looks across two fields of ‘behaviour' and the ‘entity of the city'.

Energy and Behaviour: It is becoming clear that the way people live their lives, including the way they inhabit buildings, makes a substantial difference to their energy use. Households of similar sizes and compositions living in homes of similar design and with similar infrastructures can have very different ways of living for all sorts of habitual, cultural and aesthetic reasons. This has implications for potential energy efficiency interventions and for the modelling of future energy demand. The same is true of non-domestic energy use where sensitivity to price (for example) is known to vary over time as contextual factors interplay. Our research in this area concentrates on understanding and modelling behavioural aspects of energy use including potential rebound effects

Cities: More than half of the world's population is now living in cities and the worldwide trend of urbanisation is still continuing, in particular in emerging economies. Cities open up chances for individuals from rural communities to realise a better standard of living. However, a higher standard of living generally goes alongside higher energy consumption. In addition, an agglomeration of many people such as a large mega-city creates further energy demands, such as, for example mechanical cooling to alleviate urban heat island effects. Research at the University of Southampton focusses on the role of buildings within sustainable city concepts and at a larger scale, the energy performance of city-regions in the context of their demographic and social makeup. We look at micro-generation, building refurbishment and distributed generation within cities to achieve future city energy targets.

Urban CHP cluster
Liveable Cities
Climate Change Building Impact Assessment Studies
Building Refurbishment
Eco Homes in Havant
Detioriation of Environmental Conditions
Environmental Control Facilities
Microwind Trial

High resolution Infra-Red buildings physics camera (1.2 MP InfraTec VarioCam)

Our infra-red building physics cameras are used to assess the thermal performance of buildings and the impact of user behaviour on energy use. See, James P.A.B., Jentsch M.F. and Bahaj A.S. (2009), Solar Energy, Quantifying the added value of BiPV as a shading solution in atria, Vol. 83, Issue 2, (, using an IR camera to diagnose a fault in a PV array. 

Holographic Optical Element Test Facade

Test facade for performance analysis of light directing Holographic Optical Elements (HOE) elements. 

Accelerated Lifetime Testing Rig for Electric Connectors

Life time testing rig for electrical reliability of connectors, including PV connectors. This custom built test rig can test up to 16 connectors simultaneously providing between 10 and 200 m m of fretting movement. Further information can be found in the following paper, Bahaj, A.B., James, P. and McBride, J. (2002) Photovoltaic connector behaviour under accelerated fretting testing regimes. In, Proceedings of the Forty-Seventh IEEE Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts, 2001. Forty-Seventh IEEE Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts USA, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 203-208. (doi:10.1109/HOLM.2001.953212). 

Simulation Facilities

Various simulation tools for photovoltaic and solar thermal analysis as well as for system design. These tools are used to analyse PV performance. Simulation tools for investigating thermal performance and lighting aspects in the built environment. In house micro-wind assessment tool. Examples of publications using these tools include, (i) Bahaj, AbuBakr S., James, Patrick A.B. and Jentsch, Mark F. (2008) Potential of emerging glazing technologies for highly glazed buildings in hot arid climates. Energy and Buildings, 40, (5), 720-731. (doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2007.05.006), (ii) Bahaj, A.S., Myers, L.E. and James, P.A.B. (2007) Urban energy generation: Influence of micro-wind turbine output on electricity consumption in buildings. Energy and Buildings, 39, (2), 154-165. (doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2006.06.001), (iii) Papafragkou, A., James, P.A.B., Jentsch, M.F. and Bahaj, A.S. (2009) and (iv) Combined heat and power: street-level domestic microgrids. Proceedings of the ICE: Energy, 162, (3), 131-141. (doi:10.1680/ener.2009.162.3.131).

James, P.A.B., Jentsch, M.F. and Bahaj, A.S. (2009) Quantifying the added value of BiPV as a shading solution in atria. Solar Energy, 83, (2), 220-231. (doi:10.1016/j.solener.2008.07.016).

Measurement of Indoor Environments

Various environmental data analysis and data logging systems to assess indoor environments of buildings. Equipment for assessing indoor lighting performance. Examples of the use of these systems is given in (i) Teli, Despoina, James, P.A.B. and Jentsch, Mark F. (2013) Thermal comfort in naturally ventilated primary school classrooms. [in special issue: Adaptive Comfort in an Unpredictable World] Building Research & Information, 41, (3), 301-316. (doi:10.1080/09613218.2013.773493) and (ii) Teli, Despoina, Jentsch, M.F. and James, P.A.B. (2012) Naturally ventilated classrooms: an assessment of existing comfort models for predicting the thermal sensation and preference of primary school children. Energy and Buildings (doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2012.06.022).

Climate Change Weather File Generation Tools

CCWeatherGen is a tool compiled in house for generating UK climate change weather files for building performance simulation programs. This is used by industry and academics, the tool and manuals can be downloaded from A key paper detailing the CCWeatherGen methodology and a case study building is available in the following paper, Jentsch, Mark F., Bahaj, AbuBakr S. and James, Patrick A.B. (2008) Climate change future proofing of buildings-Generation and assessment of building simulation weather files. Energy and Buildings, 40, (12), 2148-2168. (doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2008.06.005). 

CCWorldWeatherGen is a tool compiled in house for generating world-wide climate change weather files for building performance simulation programs. This is used by industry and academics worldwide, the tool and manuals can be downloaded from A key paper detailing the CCWorldWeatherGen methodology is available in the following paper, Jentsch, Mark F., James, Patrick A.B., bourikas, Leodinas and Bahaj, AbuBakr S. (2013) Transforming existing weather data for worldwide locations to enable energy and building performance simulation under future climates. Renewable Energy, 55, 514-524. (doi:10.1016/j.renene.2012.12.049). 

Daylight factor analysis

High resolution fisheye skyview factor camera with automated data processing - daylight factor analysis in the urban environment.

Share this research area Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings