Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Projects Archive

  • Funding: EPSRC
  • 2002-2019
  • Programme Lead: Dr Christian Brand
  • UK Energy Research Centre Decision Making Programme

    ECI lead a theme in the third phase of the UKERC looking at challenges in energy decision making, including governance, actor decision making and systemic interactions. The demand for energy is the driver of the whole energy system, influencing not only the total amount of energy used, but also the location, type of fuel and characteristics of the end use technology. Energy systems face increasing pressures from many directions, most notably for a rapid transition to a secure, low carbon energy system. Understanding the role of energy demand in these changes is therefore an increasing priority. ECI lead, and are involved in, a number of sub-projects within the UKERC Decision Making theme.

  • Funding: EPSRC
  • 2002-2019
  • Co-I: Professor Nick Eyre; Led by Professor Jim Hall

UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium: Long term dynamics of interdependent infrastructure systems.

The ITRC informs the analysis, planning and design of national infrastructure, through the development and demonstration of new decision support tools, and working with partners in government and industry. LCF input has focused on the NISMOD-LP model of demand and capacity for infrastructure systems, leading the work on modelling energy demand.

Photo via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0 Dark Dwarf

Energy Publics: mapping public participation in Bristol's energy transition

This project aims to map energy participation in the West of England, between 2015-2017 and then analysing the results using a whole systems approach.

Enspol logo

Energy Saving Policies and Energy Efficiency Obligation Schemes (ENSPOL)

An EU project targeting the effective and proper implementation the Energy Efficiency Directive in all Member States and beyond.

  • Funding: Defra
  • 2012-2016
  • Co-I: Dr Tina Fawcett

Sustainable Pathways to Low Carbon Energy (SPLICE)

SPLiCE will fill gaps in knowledge about the sustainability of different mixes of energy supply and demand options needed to deliver 2050 greenhouse gas emissions targets. It will look specifically at the effects of different energy options on the natural environment, society and the economy.

Enliten logo
  • Funding: EPSRC
  • 2012-2016
  • Co-I: Dr Tina Fawcett

Energy literacy through an intelligent home energy advisor (ENLITEN)

ENLITEN aims to reduce carbon emissions from energy use within buildings by understanding, incentivising and influencing changes in the habitual behaviours of the buildings' occupants.

Retail sector

Working with Infrastructure, Creation of Knowledge, and Energy strategy Development: Solutions for the Retail Sector (WICKED)

Drawing on expertise in mathematical and computer modelling, energy metering, organisational behaviour, and property law, WICKED aims to unpick the knots that hinder retail sector energy management. It engages with partners—retailers, property owners, business groups, and energy advice companies—to learn from real-world problems and co-create solutions.

Energy monitoring
  • Funding: EPSRC
  • 2014-2016
  • PI: Dr Nick Eyre

Carbon reduction options for Housing managers - Real Time (CROHM RT)

This project will develop, test and verify a new energy model: Carbon Reduction Options for Housing Managers CROHM RT). CROHM RT will be able to combine conventional energy survey data with high frequency energy monitoring data and detailed tenant energy usage and appliance data.

  • Funding: EPSRC Impact Acceleration Fund
  • 2013 - 2014
  • Led by:

Build Up Skills UK

Build Up Skills UK (BUSUK) was a landmark piece of training and skills research to map the areas of growth and investment for the entire UK construction and energy efficiency workforce in the built environment. LCF worked with four of the UK’s Sector Skills Councils to develop, trial and evaluate a new Energy Efficiency curriculum for the construction industry.

  • Funding: UKERC
  • 2009 - 2014
  • Led by:

UKERC Energy Demand Theme

The demand for energy is the driver of the whole energy system, influencing not only the total amount of energy used, but also the location, type of fuel and characteristics of the end use technology. Energy systems face increasing pressures from many directions, most notably for a rapid transition to a secure, low carbon energy system. The objectives of the theme were to research how socio-economic and technical change affect energy demand in the UK, and to apply this to the need for more radical change to respond to climate and energy security challenges.

Cooperative Organisational and Academic Learning through Empirical Scholarship (COALESCE)

This project looked to improve the energy performance of the commercial property sector through a knowledge exchange partnership, to help bridge the gap between what buildings are and what they could be in terms of their energy and performance.

  • Funding: ESRC
  • 2013 - 2014
  • Led by: Dr Kersty Hobson

Monitoring and Evaluation for Sustainable Communities

Monitoring and Evaluation for Sustainable Communities' was a 12-month Knowledge Exchange project, which brought together researchers from the University of Oxford, members of UK low carbon community groups, Transition Research Network, and Low Carbon Communities Network, to co-produce and trial monitoring and evaluation tools for use across the Low Carbon Communities movement to evaluate collective impact.

Building expertise: A 'system of professions' approach to low-carbon housing refurbishment

This project explored the role of the building professions in the UK and France in delivering a comprehensive low carbon refurbishment of existing housing stock. This included looking at how different professions reacted to the threats and opportunities implied by low carbon refurbishment.

iConnect - On your bike!

The iConnect (Impact of COnstructing Non-motorised Networks and Evaluating Changes in Travel) study aimed to measure and evaluate the changes in travel, physical activity and carbon emissions related to Sustrans' Connect2 project, which won the public vote in the Big Lottery Fund’s People’s £50 Million contest.

Advanced Dynamic Energy Pricing and Tariff (ADEPT)

This project addressed the research question "How complicated can, or should, a dynamic electricity tariff be?", such that could be accepted by the public and would offer clear enhancements and incentives for reduction in energy demand. It looked at how the information potentially available from smart meters could be exploited to the advantage of both the distribution network operator and the customer.

SuperGen HiDEF (Highly Distributed Energy Future)

This programme of work aimed to identify the most effective conceptual design for the realisation of a highly distributed power system. A consortium researched whether network support functions should be provided by co-ordination of the multitude of low cost distributed sources or whether these functions should be concentrated in larger dedicated items of equipment.

Oxfordshire's Low Carbon Economy

The Oxfordshire’s Low Carbon Economy report makes a timely contribution to the current debate about Oxfordshire’s future to 2030. It evaluates the economic case for investment in the low carbon economy in Oxfordshire, focusing on innovation and infrastructure..

Metrics for Smart Grids

The aim of this work was to create a methodology to measure the potential for energy savings and GHG emissions reductions from Smart Grids in an EU context. The project sought to identify functionalities that would be necessary to enable energy and GHG benefits to be realised from the implementation of Smart Grids.

  • Funding: UKERC
  • 2010 - 2012
  • Led by: Yael Parag

UNderstanding LOcal and Community Governance of Energy (UNLOC)

The UNLOC project aimed to develop a robust understanding of evolving patterns of energy governance at the local and community levels. It sought to demonstrate how grassroots (non-governmental, non-professional groups) organisations, local government initiatives and national-scale activities interact to create new political opportunities for active citizen engagement in both energy demand reduction and deployment of local energy generation.

SMEasure: energy monitoring tool

The Environmental Change Institute developed an easy-to-use building energy management system for small and medium businesses to measure, benchmark and target the energy use of buildings simply by entering regular gas and electricity meter readings.

Climate Solidarity

This Monitoring and Evaluation project worked with thousands of members of four trade unions to change their environmental behaviour, values and attitudes, through guided learning in action groups and independent learning using materials provided on the web. ECI used a range of quantitative and qualitative techniques to establish how well the project worked and why.

Integrating sustainable energy systems into homes (cRRescendo)

The cRRescendo project aimed to integrate elements of sustainable energy systems into more than 6,000 new and existing homes in Almere (Netherlands), Milton Keynes (UK), Ajaccio (Corsica) and Viladecans (in the metropolitan area of Barcelona). This involved the development of energy-efficient public buildings that made use of renewable technologies.

Calculating The Carbon Dioxide Emissions of Flights

This work assessed carbon calculators for aviation emissions, an area particularity sensitive to assumptions, and introduced a new carbon calculator methodology developed by Sabre Holdings. It claimed to possess characterises to make it an international standard for use by other offset companies and business CSR reporting.

Installing renewable energy systems on two remote rural clinics in Ghana

This pilot project working with the Sindicatum Climate Change Foundation involved the installation of renewable energy systems on two remote rural clinics in Ghana. The chosen locations had no access to electricity, so solar PV/battery/generator hybrid systems were installed to provide power to newly installed lights, ceiling fans and refrigeration equipment for vaccines.

  • Funding: UKERC
  • 2008 - 2009
  • Led by: Yael Parag

Mechanisms for achieving demand reduction through Personal Carbon Trading (PCT)

The Environmental Change Institute hypothesised that Personal Carbon Trading (PCT) could deliver energy demand reduction through tying together three basic mechanisms which broadly conform to different methodological approaches to behaviour change: economic, psychological and social. The work involved investigating what people need to know, have, own, and learn in order to successfully reduce their energy demand and manage their carbon budget.

Governing Climate Change beyond the International Regime: City Actions in China

This project used case studies to investigate and identify key factors that determined carbon actions taken by non-nation state actors in China, and examined the implications of these activities for developing a post-2012 climate regime that could effectively engage China. The work involved looking at the incentives and barriers that underlie the strategies and actions being taken.

Governing Climate Change at Global Cities: A Case Study of Beijing

The research aimed to understand the roles of non-nation state actors including the municipal government, businesses, and NGOs in Beijing’s climate change governance and draw implications for national climate policy and the post-Kyoto climate regime. The research examined Beijing’s climate change governance, identifying incentives and barriers behind the strategies and actions being undertaken.

  • Funding: James Martin 21st Century School
  • 2008 - 2009
  • Led by: Jimin Zhao

Environmental Legacy of the Beijing Olympics

The Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 including huge investments in environmental improvement, energy structure change, and public transport facilities. This work examined how much these environmental initiatives contributed to the success of the Games and what legacy these efforts may have for the establishment of a sustainable urban transport system in Beijing and in other cities in China.

  • Funding: UKERC
  • 2007 - 2009
  • Led by: Martino Tran

IMPACT: Interactive manual of policies to abate carbon from transport

IMPACT was a web-based catalogue of transport policies that combined a moderated ‘wiki’ approach with an evidence-based global review on the potential for carbon reduction in the transport sector. The interactive web-site promoted dialogue amongst transport and energy professionals and academics to ensure a database of policy instruments was comprehensive and up-to-date.

  • Funding: UKERC | Carbon Vision Buildings | United Nations Division for Sustainable Development
  • 2007 - 2009
  • Led by:

Worldwide Status of Energy Standards for Buildings

This project investigated the worldwide status of energy standards for buildings in more than 80 countries keyed to the legal status and building sector coverage of such standards in different countries. It described which countries have added new energy standards since the previous study in 1993. The project aimed to gather information on existing standards or proposed strategies that improve the energy performance of buildings.

  • Funding: Jisc
  • 2007 - 2009
  • Led by: Dan Curtis

Low Carbon ICT

The low-carbon ICT project team was funded to develop open source software to provide desktop computer power management monitoring on LAN facilities, to help reduce the energy consumed by desktop computers at the University of Oxford. Tools and techniques such as the ‘5-steps to green desktop computing’ were designed to help groups develop and share their experiences of implementing green desktop computing initiatives.

Personal Carbon Trading

The low-carbon ICT project team was funded to develop open source software to provide desktop computer power management monitoring and wake on LAN facilities, to help reduce the energy consumed by desktop computers at the University of Oxford. Tools and techniques such as the ‘5-steps to green desktop computing’ were designed to help groups develop and share their experiences of implementing green desktop computing initiatives.

Methane UK

The Methane UK project examined the technological options for reducing methane emissions from each of the key sectors of landfill waste, agriculture, coal mining and the natural gas industry. Methane can be used as a fuel for generating electricity or heat, and from some sectors but not all is seen as a renewable energy resource.

Carbon UK

This project represents an effort to consider the greenhouse gas impact of landfills in the UK by calculating landfill carbon budgets. These budgets included carbon emissions associated with the collection, transportation of controlled waste to landfill sites, as well as methane and carbon dioxide emissions created during waste degradation.

  • Funding: ???
  • 2008
  • Led by: Brenda Boardman

Fuel Poverty Judicial Review

In April 2008 Friends of the Earth and Help the Aged presented a legal case against the UK Government for failing to meet its legal requirements to eradicate fuel poverty under the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000. Dr Brenda Boardman was invited to make the witness statement to assist the Court to understand the key issues relating to fuel poverty and to explain the way in which Government policies have affected levels of fuel poverty in England.

First Step: UK Music Industry Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 2007

This study involved the first analysis of the carbon emissions of the UK music industry. Julie's Bicycle, the funder of this project, developed an industry collaboration which aimed to catalyse a sector-wide strategic response, starting with an understanding and progressive management of its own carbon footprint.

  • Funding: UKERC
  • 2008
  • Led by: Rachel Howell

Carbon Rationing Action Groups: Insights for designing Personal Carbon Trading (PCT) policy

This work involved researching Carbon Rationing Action Groups (CRAGs) in order to determine whether they had anything useful to tell the University about the potential design of a Personal Carbon Trading (PCT) policy. Members were interviewed to discover whether and how they have cut their emissions and what they have found easy/difficult about trying to do so.

Building a Greener Britain

ECI researcher Gavin Killip was commissioned by the Federation of Master Builders to write a report outlining practical policy recommendations to help encourage householders to make their homes greener. The report on transforming the Uk’s existing housing stock showed that a long term policy commitment to low carbon-refurbishment would create jobs, improve health, comfort and eradicate fuel poverty.

Building Market Transformation

Building Market Transformation (BMT) examined how to achieve a radical transformation in CO2 emissions from the UK Building stock. This included examining policy, economic, social and technical issues, residential and non-residential buildings, existing and new. It explored external changes in buildings markets such as demographics, economic and technical changes, changes in climate and changes in building use.

Scoping study of a personal carbon trading pilot scheme

A Personal Carbon Allowance (PCA) scheme was a new policy framework proposed to significantly reduce carbon emissions produced by individuals through home energy and travel use. This study investigated the need for PCA research trials to look into areas such as the boundaries of the carbon allowance, methods for data collection and length of studies, putting forward three different trial designs to help answer these key research questions.

  • Funding: UKERC
  • 2007
  • Led by: Brenda Boardman

Carbon Labelling

An increasing number of companies have expressed an interest in helping customers understand the carbon embodied in the products they buy. Tesco and the Environmental Change Institute co-hosted a two-day residential workshop, organised by the UK Energy Research Centre's Meeting Place, to explore the practicalities, complexities and implications of carbon labelling.

  • Funding: Co-operative Bank, Friends of the Earth
  • 2007
  • Led by: Brenda Boardman

Home Truths: A low carbon strategy to reduce UK housing emissions by 80%

The Low-carbon Strategy from the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University identified the policies needed to deliver an 80 per cent cut in carbon emissions from UK homes by 2050. These cuts are achievable but will require a quantum leap in commitment from Government and a radical new approach.

Quick Hits

Quick Hits was a series of proposed initiatives developed by the Demand Reduction theme of the UK Energy Research Centre. They were intended to make a useful contribution in reducing carbon emissions by 2010, designed to be relatively easily for the Government or local authorities to implement.

Green Electricity: Advising the customer

There are currently many different green electricity products on the market. Due to the complex nature of national renewable energy policy, there are currently many different ways that a product can claim to be 'green'. This study suggests the implementation of a common Code of Practice and star-rating system for the different products.

Metering, Billing and Displays

Most householders have only a vague idea of how much energy they are using for different purposes. There has been a lot of interest in improved ('smart') metering, more informative billing and direct display panels. This review considered what is known about the effectiveness of different types of feedback, with a focus on how people change their behaviour.

Integrated Travel Emissions Profiles

The Integrated Travel Emissions Profiles (iTEP) project investigated greenhouse gas pollutant emissions and related climate change impacts from transport at the personal, household and local levels. It provided an improved understanding of the extent to which individual and household travel activity patterns, choice of transport mode, geographical location and socio-economic factors impact on climate change related pollutant emissions.

Solar Schools

The Solar Schools project aimed to survey schools and assess their demand for teaching resources on renewable energy subjects. It examined how we can best support schools in teaching children to understand environmental issues. This may be through developing material for workshops, providing online reading materials, or offering advice on solar PV installations.

  • Funding: UKERC Demand Reduction Theme
  • 2005 - 2006
  • Led by:

Predict and Decide

The UK’s Aviation White Paper sets a policy framework that supported major expansion in aviation activity. This report assessed the implications of aviation growth in the UK. Available evidence about scale, nature and impacts of the projected rise in air travel was used to weigh up the arguments for and against restraining aviation, particularly passenger air travel.

  • Funding: European Commission | Dutch Government | Danish Government
  • 2005 - 2006
  • Led by: Phil Mann

Energising poverty alleviation in South Africa through local services (APPLES)

Access to clean energy is a major driver of economic development in poor communities. Conversely, fuel poverty creates serious health and environmental problems, including indoor air pollution, respiratory disease, burns and even poisoning (from kerosene).This project sought to find innovative ways to stimulate local business capacity and financing mechanisms for affordable energy services to poorer communities in South Africa.

  • Funding: ESRC
  • 2005
  • Led by: Jane Palmer

Fuel Poverty Scoping Study

This aim of this scoping study was to determine how to maximise the focus and influence of research into fuel poverty. This involved capturing research findings across the range of disciplines and channelling outcomes into constructive policy-making by the Government, as well as commissioning and undertaking research.

40% House

The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution reported that the UK needs to achieve a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 if we are to contribute to an avoidance of significant climate change. The 40% House project studied behavioural and technological changes in the search for how UK households can meet the 60% target.

  • Funding: European Commission | DETR | Powergen | EnergieNed | University of Coimbra
  • 2005
  • Led by:

Lower Carbon Futures Report

This report presents policy solutions to the problem of domestic carbon emissions and identifies routes to lower carbon futures. Policy opportunities for more efficient use of gas and electricity and fuel switching for lights, appliances and water heating, and quantification of the resultant carbon savings, for the UK, Netherlands and Portugal are also discussed.

Solar Monitoring at West Oxfordshire District Council

The ECI monitored the performance of West Oxfordshire District Council’s solar office building in Witney. Two roof faces do not receive direct sunshine throughout the course of the year and were used to test of the effects of non-optimal orientations as part of the DTI Field Trial process.


The EU SAVE programme (Specific Actions for Vigorous Energy Efficiency) was the union-wide programme dedicated to promoting energy efficiency in industry, commerce and the domestic sector. The overall objective of this project was to initiate the decrease in electric consumption of CH systems with several complementary actions and corresponding work packages.

  • Funding: EU SAVE Programme
  • 2002 - 2005
  • Led by: ???

Energy Plus

Energy-plus fridges and freezers use less than half the energy used by average appliances, saving money for consumers and reducing carbon emissions. The project, which works in 13 European countries, looked to transform the market for super-efficient appliances.

  • Funding: Solar Century | The Charterhouse Foundation | The BOC Foundation | The Avina Foundation
  • 2003 - 2005
  • Led by:

PV Compare: which are the outstanding solar photovoltaic tecnologies?

The solar PV Compare project was a comparative test of commercially available photovoltaic (PV) technologies. Eleven different sub-arrays were mounted on rooves in S’Alqueria, Mallorca and, uniquely for studies of this type, an identical system was established at Begbroke, near Oxford, UK. This enabled the technologies to be tested side-by-side, under a wide range of climatic conditions.

  • Funding: EU Save Programme
  • 2002 - 2005
  • Led by: Mark Hinnells

Domestic Equipment and Carbon Dioxide Emissions (DECADE)

DECADE was a two year project to assemble market, behavioural and other information about domestic electric appliances (including lighting) and, using these data, construct a model of electricity use in the UK domestic appliance sector. The intention was to use the model to assess the impact of a range of energy efficiency policies in the UK.

  • Funding: ???
  • 2002 - 2003
  • Led by: ???

Analysis of Belgium's Climate Change Mitigation Policy

In the framework of the Kyoto Protocol, and as part of the EU burden sharing agreement, Belgium was set a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 7.5%. The study will provided support for the Belgian Government to enable enhanced improvements in energy efficiency to be made.

  • Funding: EU Altener Programme
  • 2003
  • Led by: Jane Palmer

Carbon Consciousness, Consumer Choice and Electricity (4CE)

This project worked towards the development of an electricity disclosure label to provide customers with details of the source of their electricity supply, and its resulting environmental implications, enabling them to make informed choices about the electricity tariff they wish to use.

  • Funding: Commissioned by the Director General of Electricity Supply in Northern Ireland
  • 2001 - 2002
  • Led by: Brenda Boardman

Competition for the Poor

The report reviews the effect that liberalisation in GB has had on the fuel poor, particularly identifying where opportunities for benefiting the fuel poor have been missed. The situation in Northern Ireland is assessed and recommendations about how the country could maximise the benefits to the fuel poor through liberalisation are suggested.

EU SAVE: Circulation Pumps

The EU SAVE II programme was the union-wide programme dedicated to promoting energy efficiency in industry, commerce and the domestic sector. The study aimed to provide the foundation for policy by creating an energy use information system for domestic hot water appliances, by providing factual information needed for measures such as EU energy labels and by making recommendations for their implementation.

  • Funding: EU Save Programme
  • 2000 - 2002
  • Led by: Mark Hinnells

EU SAVE: Water Heating

The EU SAVE programme was the union-wide programme dedicated to promoting energy efficiency in industry, commerce and the domestic sector. This was a European-wide study examining the energy saving potential - and means of achievement - of domestic water heating. The study aimed to provide the foundation for policy in creating an energy use information system for domestic hot water appliances.

  • Funding: EU Save Programme
  • 1999 - 2002
  • Led by: Mark Hinnells

EU SAVE: Ovens

The EU SAVE programme (Specific Actions for Vigorous Energy Efficiency) was the union-wide programme dedicated to promoting energy efficiency in industry, commerce and the domestic sector. This project sought to identify policy options to improve the efficiency of domestic electric and gas ovens and to develop a common basis for possible national actions.

  • Funding: Electricity Association
  • 2000
  • Led by:

Effective Advice

Effective Advice provides a valuable contribution to the debate surrounding the provision of energy efficiency advice to disadvantaged customers by assessing the effectiveness of advice, identifying the most effective techniques at providing advice, and recommending targets and monitoring methods of practical use to energy advice providers. The study was one of a number of initiatives undertaken to inform discussion and encourage wider debate.

Vehicle Environmental Rating Schemes

This project aimed to consider the effectiveness, cost and practical implementation of vehicle environmental rating schemes. This study was commissioned by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in a joint arrangement with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR).

  • Funding: The European Commission | DETR | PowerGen plc
  • 1998
  • Led by: Brenda Boardman


By 2020, 43% of residential lighting electricity consumption in the EU could be saved through identifiable policy actions. This report demonstrates how such savings could be achieved. The DELight project incorporates data on domestic lighting from all over Europe, focusing on the EU, with in-depth analysis of three countries: Germany, Sweden and the UK.

Travel Emissions Profiles

The project was based around an exploratory and innovative approach to travel auditing, using the methodology of self-assessment of travel characteristics from personal car-based travel. The output was a series of personal and household annual emission budgets which identify the sources and distribution of emissions for car-based travel and show the proportion of residents contributing to emissions at each level.

  • Funding: European Commission | Nuclear Electric | Oxfordshire County Council | E.ON UK (formerly PowerGen plc)
  • 1996
  • Led by:

The Cost of Rural Travel (SMART Project)

This report addresses some of the issues raised by increases in traffic in the countryside alongside a decrease in bus services. It is based on research in two Oxfordshire villages, both of which exemplified changes commonly found in many in ‘commuter belt’ or semi-rural locations in South-East England and elsewhere.