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Decision Support for Domestic Energy Retrofitting in Housing (Advert Reference: SF18-3/ABE/ALWAN)

  • Full or part time
    Dr Z Alwan
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Today, Retrofitting of existing housing to meet stringent thermal comfort and sustainability targets has become high on the agenda both in the developed and developing world. While the overwhelming focus has been on new build in terms of carbon reduction and energy efficiency, the majority of housing stock already exists and is rarely included in current policy.

This PhD research project will explore the difference in behaviour and attitudes towards the acceptance of interventions both from a structural point of view and from a technological perspective. What makes certain communities more accepting of technologies - such as renewable energy or energy efficiency measures - at an individual or community level?

The research will focus on developing frameworks for assessing the variables related to low carbon behaviours and interaction with technologies such as smart meters or retrofitting of existing housing. This can be explored through (a) an in depth investigation of the main barriers to acceptance of interventions (b) development of approaches and solutions (C) testing and validation of proposed framework for implementation.

Please note eligibility requirement:

* Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]) in architecture, engineering, construction, computing or technology discipline; or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
* Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

This project is well suited to motivated and hard-working candidates with a keen interest in social housing, sustainability, building performance, BIM. The applicant should have excellent communication skills including proven ability to write in English.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18-3/ABE/ALWAN) will not be considered.

Start Date: 1 March 2019 or 1 June 2019 or 1 October 2019

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender quality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Funding Notes

Please note this PhD position is a self-funded project and does not include fees. Funding can be secured through the applicant by self funding or governmental or institutional backing. Northumbria University fee band 3 will apply.


Alwan Z. (2016). BIM performance framework for the maintenance and refurbishment of housing stock. Journal of Building Pathology 34 (3), 242-255

Parnell, R. and Larsen O.P. (2005). Informing the Development of Domestic Energy Efficiency Initiatives: An Everyday Householder-Centered Framework. Environment and Behavior 37 (6), 787 - 807

Lilley, S., Davidson, G. and Alwan Z. (2017). External Wall Insulation (EWI): Engaging Social Tenants in Energy Efficiency Retrofitting in the North East of England. Buildings 7(4), 102

Alwan Z. (2016). BIM performance framework for the maintenance and refurbishment of housing stock. Journal of Building Pathology 34 (3), 242-255

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