Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Dr Gavin Killip


Research Groups

Key findings from research on low-energy business renovation.

Dr Gavin Killip



Gavin has a BA in Linguistics from York University and an MSc in Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies from the University of East London, in association with the Centre for Alternative Technology. He joined the ECI in 2004 after working for 10 years on energy efficiency and building-integrated renewable energy projects in the voluntary and public sectors. He has reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions in his own 1908 home by 60% through major refurbishment.

Research Interests

I am interested in finding solutions for a more sustainable built environment. I take a broad 'socio-technical systems' approach to investigating how technology and behaviour evolve and affect each other, with the ultimate goal of proposing positive change by understanding better the workings of complex systems.

Most of my research focus has been on existing housing in the context of climate change mitigation - investigating how 2050 climate change targets might be met through the markets for property (sales and rentals) and repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI). This involves economic transactions, flows of information at many different levels, and challenges for many existing institutions. I aim to make my research relevant to policy.

Current Projects

  • Policies for deep refurbishment of buildings - This research is examining 'deep' renovation - renovation which delivers significant energy and carbon savings in domestic and non-domestic buildings. We are investigating three key aspects and their connection to policy:
    1. Time and timing - including investigating the advantages and disadvantages of step-by-step renovation;
    2. The role of professionals & business in delivering renovation;
    3. The multiple benefits of deep renovation to building owners, occupiers and society.
  • DeViz (Defect visualisation via thermography) - This project uses thermal imaging as a behaviour change tool for informing, empowering, and engaging site supervisors to help them achieve zero defects in their buildings.
  • Planning and governance of micro generation and EV charging connections, The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) - This project is investigating the spatial planning reforms designed to integrate transport, vehicle charging and energy needs in new housing. Compulsory inclusion of charging points in all new houses and likely concentrated uptake of EVs could exaggerate challenges faced by network companies.These are compounded by multiple layers of governance for planning, transport and electricity systems.

Media Coverage

  • 'Insulation for the Nation', Costing the Earth. BBC Radio 4. 25 April 2017.
  • BBC Radio 4's Costing the Earth programme spoke to ECI Researcher Dr Gavin Killip about his own home's energy-saving retrofit and asks if carbon-emission cutting can save the climate. Our homes are responsible for 25% of our carbon emissions in the UK and we spend around £25bn a year on our home renovations. This, Dr Killip says, "is ideal opportunity for integrating [energy saving] work." However, there is currently not the skilled workforce to carry out the necessary retrofit renovations, nor the demand, to turn this opportunity into a reality.


  • Killip, G. and Fawcett, T. (2022) Expert views of building retrofit in the UK: residential, non-residential and heritage building renovations (2-292-22). ECEEE 2022 Summer Study on energy efficiency: agents of change. European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, 6-11th June. Hyères, France.
  • Brocklehurst, F., Morgan, E., Greer, K., Wade, J. and Killip, G. (2021) Domestic retrofit supply chain initiatives and business innovations: an international review. Buildings and Cities, 2(1): 533-549.
  • Goodhew, J., Goodhew, S., Fox, M., Alencastro, J. and Killip, G. (2021) Visualising Defects via Thermography (DeViz): A combined technological, behavioural and quality systems approach to achieving near zero defect buildings. Proceedings of ECEEE Summer Study (online), 7 - 11 June 2021. paper 8-091-21.
  • Hampton, S., Killip, G., Smith, A., Eyre, N., Knight, L., Scott, H., Budnitz, H. and Wheeler, S. (2021) Pathways to a zero carbon Oxfordshire. Proceedings of ECEEE Summer Study (online), 7 - 11 June 2021. paper 5-096-21.
  • Hampton, S., Knight, L., Scott, H., Budnitz, H., Killip, G., Wheeler, S., Smith, A., Eyre, N. (2021) Pathways to a zero carbon Oxfordshire. Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford
  • Killip, G., Fawcett, T., Jofeh, C., Owen, A.M., Topouzi, M. and Wade, F. (2021) Building on our strengths: a market transformation approach to energy retrofit in UK homes. Federation of Master Builders / Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions
  • Wade, F., Webb, J., Killip, G. and Jenkinson, K. (2021) Scottish Government consultation on its draft Heat in Buildings Strategy. CREDS Consultation response.
  • Killip, G. (2015) Low-carbon skills development in UK construction. CLR News: Construction Labour, Work and Climate Change, 4: 38-49.
  • Killip, G. and Beillan, V. (2015) Building Expertise : aperçus des enjeux de la rénovation énergétique des logements pour la filière construction en France et au Royaume-Uni. In, Zélem, M-C. et Beslay, C. (ed.) Sociologie de l'énergie: gouvernance et pratiques sociales. CNRS Editions, Paris. pp. 357-368.
  • Killip, G., Eyre, N., Brand, C. and Patrick, J. (2015) Making the local economic case for low carbon – an Oxfordshire case study. Paper 3-253-15, eceee 2015 Summer Study on energy efficiency, Toulon/Hyères, France, 1st-6th June 2015.
  • Killip, G. (2012) Beyond the Green Deal: Market Transformation for low-carbon housing refurbishment in the UK. Retrofit 2012 conference, University of Salford.
  • Janda, K.B. and Killip, G. (2010) Building Expertise: A System of Professions Approach to Low-Carbon Practice. EASST 2010: Practicing Science and Technology, Performing the Social, Trento, Italy. European Association for the Study of Science and Technology, 2-4 September. http://events.unitn.it/en/easst010.
  • Killip, G. (2010) Innovation in service markets for a low-carbon future and the privileged status of policy in shaping sociotechnical change: lessons from housing refurbishment in the UK., SPRU, University of Sussex, UK. Paper presented at the Energy transitions conference, February 2010.
  • Hamilton, J. and Killip, G. (2009) Demonstration, inspiration … replication? Assessing the impact and limits of social learning from Eco-homes Open Days in the UK. at ECEEE Summer Study, La Colle sur Loup, European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. Poster presentation..
  • Killip, G. (2008) Climate change and the existing housing stock. Chartered Institute of Housing. pp. 253. ISBN: 9781905018604.
  • Killip, G. (2008) It's the Size of the Reduction Target, Stupid! The Need for a Wholesale Re-Think of Energy Efficiency Policy in UK Housing. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.
  • Killip, G. and University of Oxford (2008) Building a Greener Britain: Transforming the UK's Existing Housing Stock.(5)Ingram, J. (ed.) Environmental Change Institute (ECI) 35 pp.
  • Palmer, J., Boardman, B., Bottrill, C., Darby, S., Hinnells, M., Killip, G., Layberry, R. and Lovell, H. (2006) Reducing the environmental impact of housing. Final Report, Consultancy study in support of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollutions 26th Report on the Urban Environment.
  • Boardman, B., Darby, S., Killip, G., Hinnells, M., Jardine, C., Palmer, J. and Sinden, G. (2005) 40% House. Environmental Change Institute. Research Report 31.