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The team

Research team

The research team support the day-to-day operations of ABERG and are the link people for the three core subject areas of monitoring and performance, people and delivery.

Will Swan is a Professor of Building Energy Performance and leads the research group. Will has a portfolio of projects including projects with DECC, the EPSRC, EU and a wide portfolio of commercial research. He was the co-Chair of Retrofit 2012 and is the co-Editor of the book from Blackwell-Wiley, Retrofitting the Built Environment, as well as author and co-author of a number of journal and conference papers. He sits on the Greater Manchester Buildings Group, is a CoRE Fellow and a Fellow of the Institute of Sustainability. Previously, he worked as part of the Centre for Construction Innovation where he advised construction clients and their supply chains on issues related to performance management and sustainable construction.

Mark Alston is the Non-Domestic Energy Lead in material energy. Mark’s research focuses upon harnessing solar irradiance upon building facades to adsorb, transfer and redirect solar energy gains through technological understanding and knowledge and to integrate advancements of material science, nanotechnology, physics and chemistry to control conductivity of material matter for energy generation.

Other aspects of Mark’s research includes enabling Resistance Temperature Detector (RTD) advancement to thermally control and regulate core material temperature in an active manner by using sensors and actuators, and to use the approaches of nature’s adaptive functions, of biologically inspired intelligent materials to enable progression of real-time, reactive materials that form the surfaces of buildings. To progress the material envelope from being a mere material entity, to becoming a dynamic energy system to regulate its own thermal conductivity levels, by the hour, season and weather conditions.

Moaad Benjaber is a researcher and Electronic Engineer in the School of the Built Environment. He manages the practical and technical aspects of experiments carried out within the Energy House facility. His research is focused on monitoring the performance of buildings using wired and wireless sensors, and conducting fieldwork studies.

Phil Brown is Director and Senior Research Fellow at the Salford Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU) at the University of Salford, UK. He is a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society with particular interests in public policy and community and environmental psychology. Philip has led and contributed significantly to a wide number of multi-disciplinary projects including current work that looks at energy reduction, behaviour change and retrofitting. Philip has published numerous reports and produced a range of peer-review papers in the field of social policy and the built environment. He is the lead academic on end-use energy demand within the University of Salford’s Energy Hub. Philip sits on Greater Manchester’s Low Carbon Economic Area group for Customer Engagement and has been part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Peer Review College since its inception in 2010.

Danielle is a postgraduate researcher in the Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU) and Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society. Having been awarded a Pathways to Excellence studentship in 2015, she is currently completing a PhD in Social Policy in which her research explores the social process of energy advice as one part of the package of efforts to tackle energy/fuel poverty. She has written and presented for academic and non-academic audiences on a range of social issues related to housing, health and wellbeing, including energy/fuel poverty, homelessness, and empty home ownership. Danielle’s research has twice been recognised at a national level, having been awarded the Jonathon Sime Award in 2014 and the  Green Gown Award for Student Research and Development in 2016. Alongside her academic work, Danielle sits on Salford City Council’s committee for developing the Affordable Warmth Strategy, has extensive experience of working with Citizens Advice across Salford and with Manchester’s Energy Advice service, and is one of the founding members of the international Fuel Poverty Research Network.

Richard Fitton is a Lecturer in Energy Efficiency in the School of the Built Environment. He leads the monitoring work undertaken within ABERG and is involved in a number of projects with regards to co-heating, U Value measurement, as well as product and retrofit package testing within the Energy House. Richard has previously been a Building Surveyor and Energy Manager in the public sector. He also advises on the qualification of SAP Assessors and Green Deal Advisors. Richard was a contributor on the Zero Carbon Hub Testing Work Group for the Closing the Gap Between Design and As-Built Performance project.  The end of term report is available here

Yingchun Ji is a Lecturer in building physics and performance simulation in the School of the Built Environment. He has been carrying out a number of projects in airflow modelling, low energy ventilation design and evaluation, and dynamic thermal modelling of buildings. Yingchun has also been working on a number of consultancy projects on naturally ventilated buildings to investigate their thermal performance and ventilation effectiveness using numerical methods such as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Dynamic Thermal Modelling. He is now doing research looking at building retrofit and adaptation issues.

Alex is a buildings and energy modeller with ABERG. His background is in Physics, where he has a specific interest in the modelling of domestic energy storage. Alex’s PhD investigated the role of battery and hydrogen storage materials for the decentralisation of energy systems in the UK.  While continuing to provide analytical modelling for the Energy House, Alex has advised on several consultancy and academic projects, including for thermal comfort analysis, computational fluid dynamic modelling, field surveying and monitoring, and the development of a micro-climate sensing unit. Alex has most recently joined the International Energy Agency’s Annex 71 and is a member of the DYNASTEE steering group.

Ben Roberts is a researcher working on the Green Deal Go Early project, an extensive monitoring program covering many domestic properties across Greater Manchester. The project uses a suite of tests, interviews and long term monitoring to determine the effectiveness of retrofit measures funded through the Green Deal.

Ben is an expert in sustainability with a focus on energy use in buildings and renewable energy generation. His background includes a first degree in ‘Environmental Science’ and a postgraduate diploma in ‘Renewable Energy and the Built Environment’, studied at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Mid-Wales. He previously worked as a sustainability consultant, covering areas such as environmental legislation, renewable generation incentives, carbon footprinting and renewable energy technologies. In this position he also administered a £4 million grant scheme for community-scale renewable energy projects on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Dr Graeme Sherriff is a Research Fellow in the Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit in the University of Salford, working primarily on projects in its Sustainable Living work stream. He was previously a Research Associate at the University of Manchester working in the fields of planning, architecture and sustainability.

His research focuses on the intersection of environmental sustainability and social justice with a view to informing policy and critically engaging with debates on how environmental measures can reduce inequality and enhance social inclusion. He has published in the fields of energy, transport, food and environmental justice and played prominent roles on projects funded by the ESRC, EPSRC, DECC, Tesco and General Electric. He has worked extensively with the voluntary and community sector.

Stephen Todd is currently a Senior Lecturer in Building Pathology and Sustainability at the University of Salford. He is a fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Chartered Environmentalist and a member of the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing. Stephen has a background in practice before entering academia. He has worked on innovative EC funded low energy housing research. He has also undertaken Stock Condition surveys for Local authorities and is an Energy Trainer, Code for Sustainable Homes Assessor and BRE Associate. He was also part of the team that developed the Warrington Energy House, which was a collaborative project between the University of Salford, Warrington Housing Association and Warrington Borough Council. He also had a major input to the DETR Rebuilding Grant Project and was a member of the Welsh Pilot Scheme for Home Information Packs and Energy performance Certification. For the past 30 years he has undertaken consultancy work in the building defects and energy conservation areas and in this respect he has also appeared as an expert witness. He has sat on a BRAC technical group to advise on future Building Regulations with respect to Conservation of Fuel and Power, the Greater Manchester’s Low Carbon Economic Area Group for Product and Process Innovation and for twenty years was the Internet Editor for The Journal of Structural Survey.

Dr Mohammad Taleghani is a Research Fellow in the School of the Built Environment Sustainability. He has worked previously at University of Southern California in Los Angeles (USA), Portland State University (USA), and Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands). His primary focus is on the impact of the urban heat islands on thermal comfort and energy consumption of buildings. Mohammad received a prestigious grant from the United States National Science Foundation (NSF), and has published numerous papers in prominent journals in the field of built environment.