PhD Position at SEAHA, London

'Novel Retrofit Technology Incorporating Robots for Lower Energy Healthy Buildings'

SEAHA LogoThere are ~22.2 million dwellings in England. One in five (21%) dwellings were built before 1919. About three quarters of these older dwellings have been subject to at least some major alterations since they were built, mostly extensions or loft conversions. A further 17.9% of dwellings was built between 1919 and 1944 and further 18% from 1945 to 1964. Dwellings built after 1990 account for just 12% of the stock. A large proportion of English housing stock is thus considered as heritage.

Customers such as local authorities value the low-disruption energy performance improvement. However, an important question needs to be addressed: the PU foam itself and its impact on the indoor environment and occupants during the installation and afterwards. The currently used PU foam is sourced from BASF (Walltite) and it appears to contain ~30 Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), some with unknown effects on human health. This could potentially create a risk to inhabitants due to exposure to chemicals that might, in the future, turn out to be (or have been) harmful.

This project aims to explore the impact of various PU foams (and other sprayable insulation materials) on environmental and energy performance of retrofitted historic houses. The project will be supervised by Professor Dejan Mumovic, UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering and Professor Matija Strlic, UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage. The candidate will collaborate closely with Q-Bot (industrial sponsor) and Historic England (heritage partner).

Application deadline: 1st September 2016.

For full details, including how to apply, see