ASG - About Us

This is a multi-disciplinary group including building physicists, environmental scientists, engineers, architects and social scientists, carrying out research in the field of sustainability, environmental design and energy use in the built environment. The group's broad range of experience extends from component design, building scale, and the built environment at urban and regional scales. Its research agenda is set by international and national needs, in particular relating to low carbon design, environmental design, climate change impact, health and comfort issues, and the development of tools and guidance to better understand these issues in a research and design context. Its current work focuses on the UK and Europe China and the UAE, the latter two countries with largest ecological footprints in the world. The group has developed international networking:

  • P. Jones chairs the EU COST C23 Low Carbon Urban Built Environment network focussing how carbon emissions can be reduced at a building and urban scale;
  • Alexander and Knight participate in International Energy Agency tasks developing new modelling methods and testing standards (IEA Annex 42: The Simulation of Building-Integrated Fuel Cell and Other Cogeneration Systems and IEA Annex 43 IEA Annex 43: Testing and Validation of Building Energy Simulation Tools);
  • C. Tweed chairs the 'Impact of ontologies upon organisational structures' Working Group for the EU COST C21 TOWNTOLOGY Action;
  • Research collaboration with the British University in Dubai (BUiD) and Atkins;
  • Collaboration with Chinese Universities in Xi'an, Tianjin, Jinzhou, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Tonji (Jones and Yang).

The groups research activities and outputs include:

  • Energy and airflow computer models, HTB2 and WINAIR (Alexander and Jones), to predict the environmental performance of buildings.
  • Energy and Environmental Prediction (EEP) tool for municipalities, combining buildings, transport and health at an urban scale (Jones and Patterson), now being extended, firstly with the development of pattern recognition methods for identifying building types and age through remote sensing (EPSRC), and secondly, the detailed modelling of buildings at an urban scale (WAG/EU).
  • The web based PETUS (practical evaluation tools for urban sustainability) decision-making framework for building and infra-structure projects (Jones and Patterson), leading a European consortium of seven partner countries.
  • A European investigation of the implementation of the Energy performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) (led by Knight, IEE).
  • Strategy for Sustainable Housing for the city of Xi'an (EU Asia-link), underpinning the city's policy in this area, and with Tianjin University (Leverhulme), the application of the Schools modelling for sustainable design case studies and sustainable master planning in Tianjin, including guidance for northern China's new economic zone in Bin Hai (Wang and Jones).
  • W. Poortinga's work with Psychology includes public perceptions of climate change and energy futures (Leverhulme Trust), in addition to awareness and perceptions of risks of exposure to radon in homes (Dept Health).
  • C. Tweed, has developed the area of cultural heritage and its role in sustainable development (EU Frameworks 5 and 6). Tools have been developed to help local authorities assess the value of built cultural heritage in urban historical areas and to choose appropriate visualisation methods for sensitive urban interventions. Tweed has developed the area of cultural heritage and its role in sustainable development (EU Frameworks 5 and 6). Tools have been developed to help local authorities assess the value of built cultural heritage in urban historical areas and to choose appropriate visualisation methods for sensitive urban interventions.


  • Forster's has produced (with BRE) a Design Guide for Sustainable Housing in National Parks in Wales to be published as supplementary planning guidance.
  • Gwilliam's work on adaptation and climate change has input to the preparation of the DCLG Planning Policy Statement 'Planning and Climate Chang'.
  • Sassi's research into building methods to enable dismantling, reuse and recycling has informed CIRIA publications.

ASG sub-groups;

Urban Sustainability

Jones, Tweed, Alexander, Patterson, Poortinga, Lannon, Fedeski, Gwilliam, Bronstering

This group's interests include:

  • urban planning for sustainability;
  • health and comfort in buildings and settlements ;
  • alternative and renewable energy supplies ;
  • regional and settlement modelling ;
  • adaptation of buildings for climate change ;
  • social interaction with and influences in sustainability measures;
  • public perception of risk;
  • the application of Computational Fluid Dynamics and physical scale modelling to large scale problems.

Recent activities in this group include:

  • Professor Jones is chair of the EU COST C23 Low Carbon Urban Built Environment (LCUBE) network focussing on reduction of carbon emissions.
  • Professor Tweed, through EU Frameworks 5 and 6, has developed tools to aid local authorities to assess the value of their built cultural heritage in urban historical areas and investigated appropriate visualisation methods for sensitive urban interventions.
  • Ms Patterson has lead a European consortium of seven partner countries in the development of the web based PETUS (practical evaluation tools for urban sustainability) decision-making framework for building and infra-structure projects.
  • Mr Lannon has developed the Energy and Environmental Performance (EEP) model, a GIS based regional energy and emissions prediction method. He is currently developing more efficient building stock survey techniques (funded through EPSRC) to aid in the expansion of that model. With Mr Alexander, he is developing a detailed thermal model of a small community, VIRVIL, for the Wales Energy Research Centre.
  • Ms Wang has developed a Strategy for Sustainable Housing for the city of Xi'an, underpinning the city's policy in this area, and, with Tianjin University, has led the application of the Schools modelling for sustainable design case studies and sustainable master planning in Tianjin, including guidance for northern China's new economic zone in Bin Hai.
  • hrough funding from EPSRC, Dr Fedeski and Dr Gwilliam have studied the potential in the building stock for adaptation to climate change. Gwilliam's work on adaptation and climate change has input to the preparation of the DCLG Planning Policy Statement 'Planning and Climate Change'.
  • Dr Poortinga's work includes a study of public perceptions of climate change and energy futures (Leverhulme Trust), and awareness and perceptions of risks of exposure to radon in homes (Dept Health).