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PhD student Energy Efficiency of Buildings (QUB)


School of Built Environment, Engineering and Computing

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Dr D Glew No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

In partnership with Saint-Gobain, we are seeking applications to work with the Leeds Sustainability Institute (LSI) to develop an innovative method of testing the energy efficiency of domestic buildings.

The Quick U-value of Buildings (QUB) method is a new method which has achieved notable academic success. As the method transitions to the mainstream use the outputs need to be robust, applicable across a range of house types, easy to apply and interpret. The commercial ambition to establish the method as the quickest, most reliable commissioning test, requires a background of research to establish and improve the reliability of the method across a full range of building types.

The PhD student will have the benefit of working alongside two of the leading teams in field testing. Applications are encouraged from those with good first degree in a maths, physics or science-based subject, in interest in the energy landscape and energy efficiency of buildings is desirable.

Background

The performance gap between the design and the as-built energy performance of buildings is considered a significant risk that may compromise the efforts on meeting the carbon reduction targets set by governments in Europe and also affect the reputation and client satisfaction of the construction industry.

Previous research showed that energy efficient buildings can be delivered through the implementation of quality control measures at each stage of the construction process. One of the most common factors restricting a wider uptake of such measures by industry is the time required for such testing.

In order to determine the magnitude of the performance gap which is related to the quality of the building fabric construction (i.e. excluding the effect of occupants and building use as well as the efficiency of building services), the Heat Transfer Coefficient (HTC) is used. The HTC is a global parameter that represents the heat losses from the whole building per degree of temperature difference between the internal and external environment and is measured in W/K.

The standard way to derive the HTC requires a coheating test which is resource intensive and takes at least 2 weeks to complete. A new method which could measure the HTC in less time would therefore be highly desirable to the field. One such possible test is the QUB method, developed by Saint-Gobain.

The QUB method is an in situ disruptive dynamic measurement method developed to determine the as-built HTC of dwellings within one night without occupancy. A distinctive advantage of the QUB method is the time required to carry out a measurement: a single night for a test compared to an average duration of 2-3 weeks for a coheating test.

Field testing of the QUB method showed promising results in terms of consistency and agreement with coheating. These studies are considered the first steps in validating the QUB method on site. However, further research is needed in buildings of different typologies and construction methods as well as buildings with different levels of insulation and airtightness in order to generalise these findings.

The Leeds Sustainability Institute (LSI) in the School of Built Environment, Engineering and Computing at Leeds Beckett University is looking to recruit a highly motivated PhD student to work and conduct industrial research with our project partner, Saint-Gobain, into how the QUB method can be improved.

The full time fully funded Doctoral Studentship will have doctoral fees paid for a period of 36 months (+ 12 months write-up period), and tax free annual stipend of £15,285 per year. The doctorate will work in the testing and development of the QUB method. Up to 50% of the time is expected to be devoted to field work, deploying the coheating test and QUB method in several buildings. The remaining time will be spent analysing data, comparing the different methods and understanding the QUB process.

The successful PhD candidate is expected to have a strong mathematical or science or engineering background (demonstrated by a first degree with a core maths or science or engineering component). A knowledge of buildings, building fabrics or building physics is desirable but not essential.

The project is expected to take the reliability of the QUB method to a level beyond that currently in use with the prospect of using it as a replacement for current tests (including methods such as coheating). If successful, this would dramatically increase the number of HTCs that can be measured across the UK and Europe, providing vastly more information on energy efficiency and helping other countries reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The project aims to look into the following research areas:
- What improvements can be made in the way a QUB test is performed and analysed to increase its robustness? In particular, how can different operating conditions (weather conditions, (un)homogeneous heating/cooling) and building types be accounted for?
- Is it possible to disaggregate the different contributions to the HTC (e.g., transmission vs. background ventilation losses), using a combination of QUB data and data from air-renewal tests (e.g. tracer-gas).


How to Apply

Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposals with the Project Lead; Dr David Glew [Email Address Removed]

Applicants are asked to complete an application form and provide a clear research proposal of the research to be undertaken using the criteria given below as a guide.

An application form can be found here: https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/carnegie-school-of-sport/research/research-students/~/-/media/65fdc788459e4a779a48ad6bcb060c8e.ashx

The deadline for applications is 11 January 2021.

Interviews will take place w/c 18 January, ahead of a February start.


START DATE AND INDUCTION

The start date of the studentship is February 2021. The successful candidate will attend a compulsory induction on the 4th & 5th February 2021 at Leeds Beckett University

OVERSEAS STUDENTS

Overseas applicants must refer to the UKVI regulations on studying in the UK and contact our Graduate School before submitting.
The Graduate School: For all enquiries regarding the application process, please contact [Email Address Removed] or telephone: +44 (0)113 812 5375

RESEARCH CULTURE

We expect bursary students to be an integral part of the research culture of the university, contributing to seminars and conferences, perhaps to projects, and generally engaging in the exchange of ideas. Associated with this, all research students undertake a research training programme.

Funding Notes

• A stipend of £15,285 per annum (pro-rata into 12 monthly payments) for three years
• UK/EU Fees paid for a period of three years
• A laptop will be provided and office space (subject to LBU COVID19 arrangements for return to campus) and the opportunity to apply for funding to support the research project.
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