Sofie Pelsmakers

Sofie Pelsmakers

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Originally from Belgium, Sofie is a chartered architect and environmental designer with more than a decade experience in the building industry. Prior to joining the Energy Institute, Sofie taught sustainability and environmental design for nearly a decade at the University of East London, where she also lead an MA Sustainability & Design programme.

In addition to her architectural qualifications, Sofie holds an MSc degree in Advanced Environment and Energy Studies from UEL (2000) and an MRes in Energy Demand Reduction at UCL (2012).

She is particularly passionate about bridging the information gap between environmental research and knowledge and its application in design and building practice. As such, she co-founded Architecture for Change (AfC), a not-for-profit environmental building organisation, with Stephen Choi, with the aim to change and challenge the way we currently design and build. She has written the ‘Environmental Design Pocket book’, published by RIBA Publishing in March 2012: it distills environmental science, legislation and guidance into one easy to use single source. The Environmental Design Pocketbook has received commendation by the RIBA for ‘Outstanding Practice-located Research’(2012). Sofie has written and spoken to industry and students, including most recently at the Architect’s Journal, Architecture Today (EchoTech), WAN (World Architecture News), CIBSE Journal, RIBA, EcoBuild and SusCon and has delivered workshops at UCL since 2011. In January 2013, Sofie was listed among 20 ‘Women influencing Sustainable Architecture’ in the UK by the Architects Journal.

Thesis Title: Pre-1919 suspended timber ground floors in the UK: estimating in-situ U-values and heat loss reduction potential of interventions

Sofie is particularly interested in robust and evidence-based solutions for retrofit of the existing housing stock and is undertaking doctoral research at UCL to that effect.

Sofie’s PhD investigates different methods of reducing heat loss from suspended timber ground floors in pre-1919 dwellings, and in particular focuses on ‘unintended consequences’ of doing so. Conceptual models will be developed which investigate hygrothermal conditions and ‘tipping points’ for unintended consequences to occur, such as moisture problems leading to mould growth and rotting timbers as witnessed outside the UK in newer constructions. The research will be underpinned by monitoring of the hygrothermal conditions of the crawl spaces of in-situ constructions and aims to provide a solutions-based approach to insulating such ground floors.

CEE Projects

Government’s Clean Growth Strategy features CEE research

Government’s Clean Growth Strategy features CEE research

Research from the RCUK CEE featured in UK government Clean Growth Strategy.

- by Maija Powell


- by david