Alex Summerfield

Alex Summerfield

Alex Summerfield

Senior Research Associate UCL Energy Institute


Alex Summerfield BSc MArch (Dist) PhD has a background in both physics and architecture, and more than a decade of experience in research and education in the built environment. His doctorate was in the field of Architectural Design Science at the University of Sydney, where he was awarded the Henry Jack Cowan Scholarship for academic excellence. Since 2004 his research interests have been focused on energy demand and carbon emissions in the built environment, resulting in more than 20 peer-reviewed journal papers, book chapters, and reports. In 2007 he was awarded an RCUK Academic Fellowship at the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies (BSGS) where he led the Environmental Methods module for the MSc Environmental Design and Engineering course. Summerfield joined the UCL Energy Institute in 2009 as Academic Manager for the Doctoral Training Programme and new EPSRC funded Doctorial Training Centre (for 80 PhDs over 5 years) and was also course director for the new MRes Built Environment: Energy Demand Studies. He is currently located in Brisbane Australia and continues to work on energy related research projects as an honorary lecturer at the UCL Energy Institute.

Summerfield has specifically gained extensive research experience in the handling and analysis of large datasets from building and energy surveys. These include projects that involve hundreds of buildings of diverse type and age and high frequency monitoring of environmental conditions and energy demand that amount to hundreds of millions of records. He has developed analytical approaches that are aimed at providing results useful for the formulation of policy, such as the timing and targeting of interventions. For instance, Summerfield has investigated the longitudinal analysis of low energy dwellings in the UK with data spanning more than 18 years as a way to understand the dynamic relationship between people, buildings, and energy demand distributions. Similarly, analysis of data from a survey on conservatory usage in London has highlighted the increase in the use of central heating and occupancy of conservatories through winter, in spite of, or even because, of a shift to double glazing in these house additions. This research is likely to have significant policy implications for future regulation of conservatories. In work on the micro-CHP field trials in collaboration with the Carbon Trust, his analysis at the machine (operational) cycle level was instrumental in identifying the critical role of control systems and cycle length in influencing the overall energy performance and carbon benefit of this technology.

CEE Projects

Evaluation of the UK Government’s Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme

Multiple research approaches to empirically determining the performance of domestic heat pumps in the largest European field trial to date (699 dwellings in total).

- by Maija Powell

Smart Meter data analysis

Smart Meter data: A new resource for academics to help transform the future energy system

- by Alison Parker

Health impacts of Energy Efficiency & Temperature (HEAT)

HEAT looks to develop datasets for examining the relationship between energy use, energy efficiency and indoor environments and their co-relationship with health.

- by Alison Parker