External blinds


Prof Alan Short

University of Cambridge

September 2015 to August 2018

AIM: To develop a holistic approach to achieving CO2 reductions associated with space heating and cooling whilst satisfying rising aspirations towards the thermal environment. Fragmented single solutions will not resolve the conundrum of ‘upgrading’ city-scale heating and cooling to meet users’ changing expectations whilst reducing carbon emissions. This research project will deliver suites of viable, integrated re-design/re-engineering strategies for the most typical urban buildings and their situations through an ongoing multi-disciplinary China/UK collaboration. This will be explored through selected live ‘city-labs’ in two municipalities, Chongqing and Hangzhou in the Hot Summer Cold Winter HSCW zone, and worked on by integrated teams of China/UK researchers.


  • Increase understanding and knowledge of the variety existing in the built environment, the fundamental building types, their urban settings, their microclimates, their energy systems, their occupants’ thermal comfort aspirations.
  • Diagnose and analyse fundamental issues of current performance.
  • Invent and catalogue climate-responsive, performance-improving re-engineering and refurbishment solutions for heating and cooling.
  • Develop an insightful and accessible evidence-based tool to empower policy-makers and professionals in decision-making in the delivery of low carbon heating and cooling in cities.
  • Disseminate academic research output to maintain the research partners’ world leading positions and make significant impacts through guidance, regulatory reform and practical examples.

Main project outcomes:

  • Policy-makers and planners in China will receive evidence-research-based, viable, costed re-design and re-engineering templates for their city buildings and neighborhood types, with a clear indication of the energy and carbon performance of the buildings.
  • UK policy-makers and planners will acquire practical re-engineering/refurbishment strategies at city scale resilient to climatic conditions.
  • An accessible digital tool for planners and decision makers will be design to input their specific city situations and derive strategy for city-wide re-engineering and refurbishment.
  • The research project will addresses the shared UK and China societal challenge by improving the living environment whilst saving energy. Also it will meet national strategic needs building on an emerging and highly productive UK-China partnership.