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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N010779/1
Title: City-Wide Analysis to Propel Cities towards Resource Efficiency and Better Wellbeing
Principal Investigator: Bahaj, Professor AS
Other Investigators:
Tyler, Professor N Anderson, Dr B James, Professor PAB
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr LS Blunden
Project Partners:
Assoc for Public Service Excellence Portsmouth City Council Xi'an City Planning & Design Institute
Xi'an Committee of Municipal & Rural Con
Department: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 April 2016 Ends: 31 March 2019 Value (£): 640,917
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Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Jun 2015 Low Carbon Cities China Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Many cities in the world are putting in place their own robust carbon reduction strategies in response to, or in advance of, leadership from central government. As the powerhouses of economic growth, cities use vast amounts of energy and consume resources from hinterlands that stretch across international borders. However, the population density of cities can also provide opportunities for significant efficiencies in terms of the provision of building services and the mobility of people and goods. In this programme of work, we propose to centre our activities on two cities: Xi'an, China and Portsmouth, UK which are notable both for their cultural heritage and for their population density (Portsmouth has the highest population density of any city in the UK). Both cities have published ambitious plans for reducing city-wide carbon emissions but also have large stocks of ageing buildings and infrastructure. This programme of work will: (a) develop an overall understanding of current buildings, mobility and energy services in both cities; (b) identify low disruption and scaled-up retrofit methodologies taking into account the particular characteristics of the two cities; (c) carry out modelling of city-wide retrofit and systems integration, at both the neighbourhood and district scales including building refurbishment, district energy and micro generation geared to improve buildings for their users. In all our modelling and building performance evaluation, we will take into account anticipated climate change projections and the adaptation required to maintain or exceed current levels of thermal comfort. (d) Address adaptive urban logistics to meet mobility needs within the two cities while pursuing carbon reduction targets through a series of targeted workshops with practitioners in the field from both countries. (e) Through a combination of modelling and monitoring, we will identify smart solutions harnessed to inform users and reduce consumption. Crucially, the modelling will be validated by real energy consumption datasets, gathered from both secondary sources (provided by our partners and from others) and primary, from a combination of sensor deployments and surveys. The latter will take the form of monitoring of a sample of multi occupancy buildings for a range of relevant parameters including temperature, power consumption, humidity and carbon dioxide. The building performance data provided by the sensor deployment will be supported by user survey data exploring perceptions of thermal comfort, overall wellbeing (satisfaction with life, health, employment and so on) and attitudes to energy saving and the cost of energy. This will link the purely techno-economic assessment of energy saving interventions to their potential social impacts. The outcomes of this programme will take the form of validated tools and guidance distilled from the project results in order to support city planners in their decision making processes concerning building asset refurbishments and the likely impact on wellbeing resulting from such improvements. A central aspect of the programme will be to foster collaboration and knowledge transfer between both researchers and practitioners in China and the UK. There are areas, for example district heating, of which there is far more experience of in China than the UK, very relevant to densely populated UK cities like Portsmouth. In other areas such as energy efficiency standards for new buildings and building energy assessment techniques, there is potential for knowledge transfer from the UK to China. In the final year of the project a joint UK-China workshop will be held to bring together researchers and practitioners in the fields of planning, energy, building services and local government, in order to disseminate the results of the programme, to test out and receive feedback on the support tools and to foster further collaboration.
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