The UK has enacted one of the most ambitious carbon reduction targets striving for net zero emissions by 2050. A major challenge to achieving this is decarbonizing heating demand with almost 25m homes in need of retrofit. Meeting the net-zero targets would increasingly require impractical rates of deployment across all retrofit measures, ie, heat pumps, insulation, glazing, etc. While a body of work is emerging addressing retrofit and other challenges in meeting net-zero decarbonization targets in the residential sector, considerations of future suitability of the common retrofit approaches are largely absent. With considerable shifts in climatic and weather patterns over the next 50-year horizon, this project will broadly look at the effects of more extreme climate change scenarios on the choice and suitability of residential energy retrofit solutions for decarbonization.
Potential questions that could be tackled in this area include:
- are existing domestic retrofit solutions, eg, fabric insulation and heat pumps, appropriate over a long time period, considering changing climatic profiles?
- can retrofit solution combinations be specified in an effective manner to respond to both current and potential future climatic environments? This includes questions of whether retrofit solutions need to be capable of being engaged and disengaged at different times of the year.
- would the whole-life carbon impact of such solutions be compliant with Paris accord-compatible carbon budgets?
The Urban Flows Observatory is seeking applicants for a PhD candidate with a strong background in STEM, strong numerical (essential) and GIS skills (desirable) commencing February/October 2023 focused on residential retrofit in the UK. The scholarship is part of a larger Research England-funded interdisciplinary program of work on sustainability in South Yorkshire, working closely with local and regional partners. Interested candidates should apply with a CV, two academic references, and a single-page personal statement and project idea on the above project statement. Your statement should address why you want to do a PhD and your initial thoughts on a research idea/project stated above.
This project is part of a larger body of work developing tools to shape the sustainability agenda for the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to engage with this work and collaborate to develop either strong industrial links or to begin to develop their capabilities for a career in academia.
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