Mitch Curtis wins BREEAM New Talent Award

We are pleased to announce that TSBE EngD student Mitch Curtis has won the brand new ‘New Talent’ award for BREEAM Accredited Graduate. See our original post for more details of BREEAM and Mitch’s research.

Congratulations Mitch!



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Offices buildings are key to workers’ health, wellbeing and productivity

Office buildings key to health


See the TSBE Centre’s research in this area:

Creating an intelligent building environment to enhance investment trader performance


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TSBE Researcher Shortlisted for BREEAM Talent Award

TSBE Researcher Mitch Curtis has been shortlisted for the new BREEAM Talent Award for university students, for his essay “Comparative Study of Demand Response Requirements in Green Building Assessment Schemes”.

BRE Group’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is widely used to describe a building’s environmental performance, and sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design.  Mitch’s paper discussed the environmental benefits of Demand Response – an Electricity Balancing mechanism that helps to match energy demand with available supply – and made a comparative analysis of Green Building Assessment Schemes to understand how they support usage of Demand Response services.

The Talent Award winner will be announced on 8th March 2016.


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Bioaccessibility science looks to China – The 8th IWCB, 2015


Nanjing skyline from the shore of Xuanwu Lake.

Nanjing, China was the venue for this year’s International Workshop on Chemical Bioavailability (IWCB), the eighth in the biennial series, held in October 2015. The previous meeting was held in Nottingham, UK. The series of conferences has become globally recognised as one of the most significant in the fields of bioavailability, bioaccessibility, and in the wider context of geochemistry.

As part of my EngD research project, I had the opportunity to attend the conference and present some of my work. The meeting provided an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast work between researchers and practitioners. In addition the truly global nature of the conference enabled significant contrasts between the approaches of researchers to the field, and the relevance of bioavailability and bioaccessibility within differing national contexts. Naturally for a conference hosted in Nanjing, there were a significant number of Chinese researchers in attendance, alongside delegates from Australia, the USA, India and the EU. These included the Dutch RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) regulatory body, which is taking a leading role in advancing the case for bioaccessibility testing in human health risk assessment. Together, there were oral and poster presentations from across the globe on many aspects of risk assessment, including new methods and processes to estimate bioaccessibility in the lab – the driver behind my own work.

The meeting concluded with a discussion about the future for bioaccessibility and bioavailability assessment, with a particular focus on Chinese expectations and European experiences. This was a lively discussion, and showed a great eagerness for academics to join and act together to improve assessment, despite varied regulatory regimes and practices.

China is a country coming to terms with rapid industrialisation, and is reaping the environmental consequences as well as economic rewards that this brings. Meetings like the IWCB will help Chinese scientists and regulators, as well as those in other rapidly developing nations, make a more sustainable transition to improved lifestyles and standard of living for their citizens. Within the wider global context, bioaccessibility testing still faces challenges to its acceptance in many regions – the IWCB meetings will continue to play a significant role in the global study of bioaccessibility and bioavailability assessment.

My thanks go to the organising committee and the hosts, Nanjing University, for providing a well-run, engaging conference. Xie xie!

Post by EngD researcher Stephen Lowe. Find out more about Stephen’s research here.

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‘Small power in offices may lead to big energy DEMAND’

Posted on 15 January 2016 by Mary Pothitou

This research on ‘Energy demand and working practices in office buildings’ is associated with the project ‘Negotiating needs and expectations in commercial buildings’ which in turn is part of the ‘DEMAND’ (Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand) Energy Centre Programtsbe-mary-pothitoume funded by the ESRC/EPSRC with support from ECLEER (EDF R&D), Transport for London and the International Energy Agency.  DEMAND is a collaborative research project led by Lancaster University and involving researchers from a number of UK-based universities, including the University of Reading and EDF Energy (see

In particular, ‘Negotiating needs and expectations in commercial buildings’ research is focused on understanding how energy is used in offices. One of the highest end-uses in the offices sector is frequently categorised as ‘small power’, which typically covers a range of ‘plug-in’ office equipment. However, little is known about this use category and what are the key determinants of energy use within it.  This forms the focus of this project on ‘Energy demand and working practices in office buildings’. The specific contribution of this project will be to improve current understanding of how current working practices of different occupancy types and occupational groups affect office buildings.

Mary Pothitou – Doctoral Research Engineer (EngD) – Email:


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Energy saving device wins CIOB award

Egg shaped device wins CIOB award


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EngD student wins 3 minute presentation award

BridgetThis summer, TSBE Centre EngD student Bridget Ogwezi beat 11 other finalists to win the Three Minute Thesis competition run by the University of Reading’s Graduate School.

The competition is a popular part of the school’s annual Doctoral Research Conference where researchers have 3 minutes to present their projects in a fun and engaging way. The topics ranged from thought-controlled devices to female fertility and included Bridget’s presentation ‘A naturally adaptable facade element’.

Bridget explained her research project, which aims to reduce buildings’ energy consumption by developing innovative materials for facades to control the internal environment.

The presentation also won the People’s Choice Award, voted for by the conference delegates.

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TSBE Centre & Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce collaborate on Energy Management

The recent Energy Seminar “Innovation in Energy Management” held by University of Reading in association with The Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce was hailed as a success by participants.

The seminar was led by Dr Phil Coker. Presenting best practice and implementation of energy and carbon reduction were David Merefield, Senior Sustainability Manager at Sainsburys and Dan Fernbank, Energy Manager at University of Reading. Delegates learnt more about energy research projects at the university including “The Thames Valley Vision Project” from Dr Ben Potter, Associate Professor, and networked with colleagues from the energy sector.

Dr Coker commented ‘Energy provision and use is seeing dramatic changes, challenges and opportunities. Innovation and sharing of best practice can help companies to reduce costs and mitigate risks, and, further, to access new revenue streams and markets. For the University, industry relevance is valued by our researchers and funders. We want to ensure our teaching and research both inform and are informed by cutting edge industry practice.
This series of energy themed seminars seeks to enhance knowledge sharing between the University energy research community and our partner network of energy industry professionals. Innovation will be at the heart of University led events, whether in technology, application or practice.’


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NIR 2015 – Highlighting South America

In the gap year between the World Cup 2014 and the Rio 2016 Olympics, Brazil played host to a major event of the NIR community. The biannual conference on near infrared spectroscopy, organised under the auspices of the ICNIRS, took place in Foz do Iguaçu this year. The theme of the conference, Highlighting South America, emphasized the fact that the event has been organized on this continent for the first time. Situated at the trijunction between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay the area is possibly better known for Iguaçu Falls, one of the new seven wonders of nature.

361 participants from 37 countries came together for a well organised conference covering a wide range of spectroscopy applications across multiple disciplines. With the participation of the principal researchers in the field, the event represented a week for interchange of knowledge and experiences for professionals and students alike and an opportunity to present their contributions to the field. Due to the informal ambience, it was easy to be in close contact with international experts and an excellent chance to discuss research questions.  Using spectroscopy as a tool for my own research it was inspiring to learn about the methodological approaches and innovations other researchers developed and I took with me valuable recommendations for my work on the radiative properties of urban trees.

No journey to this part of the world would have been complete without the chance to enjoy the natural beauty of the landscape and luckily a trip to the legendary waterfalls was included in the social program. This made the conference an even more memorable one beyond the professional significance. Até mais ver, Brazil!


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MoA Health and Wellbeing Programme: Wellness in the Workplace

TSBE student, and Senior Engineer at BuroHappold, Trevor Keeling will speak tomorrow as part of the Museum of Architecture‘s Health and Wellbeing programme.

The event, Wellness in the Workplace, will look at the ways design can change our sedentary working practices and encourage more flexible, productive and innovative workplaces.

Trevor’s research is mapping and analysing users’ emotional and physical experiences in buildings. The aim is to improve the user experience by creating buildings that can react to how you feel. Find out more here.

Trevor Keeling Buro Happold Staff 2010

Trevor Keeling Buro Happold Staff 2010

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