New funding awarded for Urban Sensing research

UBDC is delighted to announce a series of successful funding applications from the Royal Society, Understanding Society, and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ).

The awards will enable the continued development of our urban sensing & analytics research stream, with particular interests in the sensor-enhanced housing survey project and building energy efficiency estimation project.

The TBIJ project will investigate the indoor living environment in Southwark, London during extreme heat weather conditions in summer. We aim to deploy sensors in 60 London households with sensor measurement, as well as a more detailed survey/interview to understand people’s living conditions and behaviour changes after the target intervention.

The Understanding Society Innovation Panel is a three-way collaboration between UBDC Urban Sensing Team, the UCL Energy Demand Observatory and Laboratory, and Understanding Society. We aim to monitor indoor residential environments and energy use via low-cost housing sensors and smart-meters, and linking the data with building performance and socio-demographic. This sensor-enhanced housing survey will roll out to 200-300 households and collect indoor temperature/humidity and air quality.

The final project with the Royal Society International Exchange focuses on estimating building energy efficiency and carbon footprint for achieving a net-zero carbon target via urban sensing and AI. This project will collaborate with the China University of Mining and Technology and Wuhan University and develop methodologies for both UK and Chinese cities for building energy efficiency and carbon footprint estimation.

Dr Qunshan Zhao, UBDC Associate Director, said: “The new funding from TBIJ will further test our methodology development of sensor-enhanced housing survey for indoor environment monitoring of urban heat in London this summer.

“The follow up project with the ESRC-funded Understanding Society Innovation Panel next year will help us scale up and incorporate the indoor sensor measurement into the national longitudinal survey. The Royal Society project provides the unique opportunity to create the roadmap for achieving net-zero carbon society in both UK and China.”

Dr Mark Livingston, UBDC Associate Director, said: “These projects allow us to further explore the relationship between energy usage, indoor environments, and household circumstances. The combination of the different forms of data in a representative sample is a step to providing valuable ongoing understanding of the issues of fuel usage, changing climate and fuel poverty.”

Further information:

TBIJ recruitment blog
TBIJ news story on the rising danger of hot summers

Understanding society innovation panel

TBIJ project team:

PI Dr Qunshan Zhao
CoI Drs Mark Livingston, Qiaosi Li
RA Mingkang Wang, Congying Hu, Yunbei Ou


US project team:

PI Mark Livingston
CoI Qunshan Zhao, Simon Elam (UCL), Martin Pullinger (UCL)


Royal Society team:

PI Qunshan Zhao
Participants: Qiaosi Li (Glasgow), Xiran Zhou (Chinese University of Mining and Technology), Zhenfeng Shao (Wuhan University)

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