To expand our understanding of the cost optimality criteria for Passive House / nZEB Commercial buildings into a broader multi beneficial optimality assessment. Article 9 of the recast Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2010) requires that by December 31st, 2020, all new buildings are to be constructed to a near zero-energy standard, (nZEB); defined as ‘the point where the measures required to implement the standard are ‘cost optimal’….to achieve a balance between costs and energy performance….’. Such legislative definitions must be redefined every 5 years and so a detailed study now, of how this definition might be expanded and better understood is apposite.
Background research questions include the choice of the most appropriate energy software would help such understanding. This might include utilizing Passivhaus software (PHPP), as it directly addresses the larger elements of commercial energy usage including air leakage, ventilation and electrical energy. A review of international best practice will be a key element of the research - in particular investigating initiatives such as the Israeli government mandating of a fabric first approach rather than that the ‘services hardware’ response to creating such buildings. This reflects the alignment of expected life of the building (50 – 100 years), compared with building services (15 to 20 years). The passive elements of fabric, air tightness, surface volume ratios, orientation and passive ventilation are key tenets of the passive house methodology.
(a) Review of current commercial buildings, across a range of three non-domestic building types: (1) Educational buildings (2) Offices and (3) Health Care Facilities. Research questions would include: (i) Are the current cost optimality models accurate and fit for purpose? (ii) Can such models be customised to better reflect building use and energy profile ? (iii) Is there an optimal balance between services and fabric across building types ?
(b) Identification of energy profiles, pertinent to such buildings across SBEMie/NEAP and PHPP allowing assessment of the true veracity of the near Zero Energy Building nomenclature and the key influencers of the cost optimality approach.
(c) Critique of regulatory specifications, across the island of Ireland, using NEAP and PHPP software, to identify areas of performance/benefit accruing but not captured by current cost optimality models.
(d) Analysis of one building, to assess post occupancy experience potentially using the BUS methodology and end user patterns of use against design predictive energy use using NEAP and PHPP, to give direction as to whether the nZEB cost optimality model is fit for purpose
(e) Proposals for a revised nZEB specification where Passivhaus criteria form a baseline to a broader range of cost optimality considerations related to IAQ and operational efficiencies. nZEB targets lack standards critical to greater occupant comfort and health, the whole therefore never aspires to be greater than the sum of the parts. It is this perception gap which this study wishes to address and in so doing, deepen our perception of the design strategies and optimal performance criteria non-domestic nZEB buildings in the 21st century, ought to operate within.
- To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
- Clearly defined research proposal detailing background, research questions, aims and methodology
The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:
Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)
Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)
Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)
Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Department for the Economy (DFE)
The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,285 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies
The Doctoral College at Ulster University
I had an interesting time at Ulster University, Jordanstown. Many thanks to all the lecturers, library staff and research school for their time and effort getting me through my PhD!
Philip Bradley - PhD in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
My proudest moment was when I was accepted to pursue my PhD in Ulster University. My favourite memory was how I met my group of friends who also pursue their dreams in this foreign country. I'll never forget the tough times I underwent during my study, but thanks to those times that I finally managed to lose weight. I couldn't have got through this without my supervisors' support, kind encouragement and firmest trust. If I could speak to myself at the start of my PhD, the best piece of advice I would give myself would be - do not procrastinate, you gotta learn to move forward in life when you feel stuck.
Mengmeng Dou - PhD in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
I came to Ulster University to challenge myself with a PhD study under Vice-Chancellor's Research Studentship at the Centre for Sustainable Technologies in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning. My supervisors helped me much from giving valuable guidance to supporting any difficulties, which makes me feel that I am the luckiest student.I would like to take this opportunity to thank my supervisors, family, friends and colleagues for supporting me tirelessly. Without you, I couldn't have got through my PhD with some great achievements:Best PhD Research Paper in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning, Ulster UniversityBest Student Paper Award at the conference of World Congress on Engineering and Computer Science 2017, San Francisco, USA.Student Registration Grant for demonstrating academic excellence in research at 17th International Conference on Sustainable Technologies (SET 2018), China.
Khoa Xuan Le - PhD in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
I worked for 35 years for the Housing Executive - latterly as its Head of Research. I had completed an MSc in Urban Policy in the 2000s - and it had been a longstanding ambition of mine to complete a PhD that brought together a number of strands of policy-related research that had been of particular interest to me. Undertaking a PhD at Ulster University allowed me to fulfil this ambition in an enjoyable manner.Completing my PhD has brought me an immense amount of personal satisfaction. A major part of this was down to the incredible support I received from my two supervisors Professor Stanley McGreal and Dr Michael McCord. Their ongoing advice, encouragement and support helped take me outside my comfort zone and played a major part in my achievement. Even my viva proved to be an enjoyable experience and enabled me to feel that I had gained a level of expertise in a sphere that could make a small but significant contribution to addressing some of the key housing issues facing policy
Joe Frey - PhD in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
I am a senior researcher at Korea Fire Institute which is a state-owned company specialised at fire safety engineering in the Republic of Korea. I obtained BSc and MSc in mechanical engineering. Prior to enter a PhD course at the School of the Built Environment in Ulster University, I worked for over a decade in the engineering industry. With relation to my PhD topic, my current research field is on fire safety using experimental and numerical approaches.Finally, I finished my study in Ulster University and became a Doctor of Philosophy in a field of fire safety!! There were a lot of good memories at Ulster University. I will never forget the rainbow on the Jordanstown campus which helps me to relieve my stress caused by stuck in concrete damaged plasticity theory. I felt great when receiving an annual PhD conference award as the best poster. I was excited to spent time with my officemates, Rumeel, and Emmanuel. I love every moment at Room 4B01 because it was a time to enhance my
Ohk Kun Lim - PhD in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
I am a Swiss citizen, grew up in Papua New Guinea and graduated from Ukarumpa International Schools. I was trained and certified as a Swiss cabinetmaker and hold a Swiss diploma in electrical engineering from the Bern University of applied Science. In the past ten years I have been employed at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology and have performed research in the field of energy conversion and storage. Research activities include; Alkali water electrolysis, metal hydride hydrogen storage, PEM fuel cell and stack development, catalytic oxidation of hydrogen for high temperature heat (cooking), energy systems for autarky living and liquid sorption heat storage. I lead the subtask Components and Systems of the IEA, SHC Program, Task 58 ‘Material and Component Development for Thermal Energy Storage’ and have performed a part time external PhD at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment in the development of a heat and mass
Benjamin Fumey - PhD in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
I studied my Integrated Masters (MSci) at Jordanstown from 2008-2012. After a few years working as an Estate Agent, I went back to academia to complete my PhD, looking at the broad area of health within the field of planning.Many PhDs are given a topic to begin with, however when I applied for the PhD scholarship I had to create my own research topic. This took me a while to establish, but eventually my hard work paid off and I narrowed my research into an area I am truly proud of - Active living, how the built environment can influence physical activity and how this was interpreted in the domains listed in my thesis title. My favourite aspect of the PhD was presenting my research and getting the acknowledgment from other academics that my research was interesting, robust and well thought out. I submitted an abstract to AESOP, an annual planning conference, and was given the opportunity to present my work in Venice. I also presented my work to the president of RTPI. There is nothing
Owen Hawe - PhD in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning