Flexible and responsive energy retail markets: putting consumers at the centre of a smart, low carbon energy system

As part of the Future energy market review, BEIS sought views on its vision for the future of energy retail markets, including key opportunities and challenges.

Summary of our response

The position of the consultation document is that there are challenges to increasing flexibility whilst maintaining high levels of access for all consumers and these should be studied and understood. We agree with this general position and in our response we try to unpack some of these challenges and provide information on how research can be used to facilitate the transition to an energy system which is not only more efficient from a technical perspective, but also fair for consumers.

Jacopo Torriti and Nick Eyre responded on behalf of CREDS.

Full response

Carbon Footprint of Food

Eugene Mohareb was recently quoted in a number of media outlets (including CNN and The Independent) based on his research on low carbon food systems. The recent IPCC report on land use and climate change focused on the role of land use change including the preservation and restoration of carbon sinks in favour of grazing land or feed crops for livestock.

Eugene commented on the potential knock on benefits of reducing global consumption of animal products, including the possibility for reducing food waste, as well as findings from his research on the food system about measures that urban dwellers can take to reduce the food system’s effect on the climate.

Eugene Mohareb is a lecturer in Sustainable Urban Systems within the School of the Built Environment at the University of Reading. He is part of the Energy and Environmental Engineering research group. Eugene’s research examines urban approaches to greenhouse gas mitigation, focusing on food systems, domestic retrofit, and waste management.”

Please click the link if you want to read the article.

Numbers for policy: Practical problems in quantification Course – Castelldefels (Spain) on November 18-20 (free for PhD students)

The course introduces concepts of practice and ethics of quantification, seen as an antidote to inconsiderate uses of numbers both in academia and in society. It shows the pitfalls to be avoided and offers – with examples, tools and recipes for reasonable uses of quantitative methods.

The course aims at practitioners, post-docs and PhD students with an interest in the use of evidence for policy.

For more details please follow this link.

Registration deadline is 26th September 2019 by 12.00


Study on the Value of Design and the Role of Architects


This aim of this strategic report has been to consolidate existing knowledge across Europe and develop next steps to be addressed by ACE in demonstrating the value of design and the role of architects.A call for evidence on methodologies for evidencing the value of architects and architectural design distributed through ACE networks in July 2018 resulted in a patchy and thin response despite considerable efforts to communicate it to colleagues in education and practice. The conclusion is that very little is currently known about work on evidencing the value of architects in Europe and that strategy is needed to provide joined up thinking in this area.

Going forward the triple bottom line of sustainability: social, environmental and economic value and the relationships between them is a useful and common way of framing design value that has some traction with policy.

The mainstreaming of Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE), not just in terms of environmental performance but also in terms of more intangible aspects of social value, is key to the demonstration of value. ACE needs to develop a strategy to promote this increasingly important aspect of architectural practice.

Universities, practice and industry also need to work together to demonstrate value. In particular there is a need to develop the skill-base of practitioners and students in research and POE.

The review identified substantial gaps in knowledge that need to be filled. In particular viewpoints are needed from parts of Europe that gave no response, also from policy makers and clients.

It is vital to acknowledge the multi-disciplinary nature of architectural practice and the way in which the value of design and the role that architects play in it is framed.

Consensus on definitions are needed for capturing value. The more that these definitions can align with definitions used by policy makers the easier it will be to feed findings into policy and procurement which will impact on the future role of architects.

Early Career Researchers Funding Call

We are pleased to announce the CREDS Early Career Researchers Flexible Fund

As part of the CREDS award, we have a Flexible Fund, which we intend to use to fill research gaps and develop research capacity. This call is the first use of the Flexible Fund. It seeks to develop research capacity and support innovative research. It is restricted to supporting projects led by early career researchers, i.e. people active in energy research in the UK who have not previously led a project with funding exceeding £100k.

Please find more details of this fund and how to apply here: www.creds.ac.uk/early-career-researcher-call/


Podcast: Electric vehicles, infrastructure and the electricity grid

Ben Potter and Laura Hawkins recently joined Charlotte Mitchell for a conversation about electric vehicles as part of the Infra[un]structured podcast series by the National Infrastructure Commission. This new podcast can be found here on SoundCloud or by searching for Infra[un]structured wherever you get your podcasts.

Ben talks about what it’s like to own an electric vehicle, why we need to stop driving conventional petrol and diesel vehicles, and how our electricity network needs to change to accommodate the increased demand for electric vehicle charging.

Ben Potter, Laura Hawkins and Charlotte Mitchell recording a podcast on electric vehicles

Ben Potter is an Associate Professor of Energy Systems within the School of the Built Environment at the University of Reading. He is part of the Energy and Environmental Engineering research group and the TSBE Centre. Ben works on the technical and economic challenges of integrating electric vehicles, as well as other technologies, into the smart grid. He also drives one.

Reflections on the Orts Road Community Fun Day

Reflections on the Orts Road Community Fun Day

By Violet Sheppard, Our 2019 MESA UROP Summer Intern

The mapping workshop at the fun day gathered a great response from the community; everyone was very enthusiastic about getting involved.

For our contribution to the day we set up our mapping stalls and a table tennis table, along with balloons and stalls. There were four other stalls, a stall about recycling, the police, RIS Reading and the local counsellors. The counsellors displayed the designs for the Orts road playground, so the community members could vote on which design they preferred. Meanwhile, the imaginationplayground and bouncy castle were set up along with an ice cream van. The MESA group from the Philippines came along to the day and were a great help in encouraging people to join in.

The first people to take part were a mother and her son who proved to be very sociable through the mother’s response to the question, ‘Where do you stop and speak to friends?’, which she responded with ‘everywhere’. It was great to get feedback from such a sociable individual from the area. Her son stated how they love spending ‘their free time’ at their local church, which unfortunately has poor maintenance after events which is what he wanted to be improved.

We spoke to a woman with a baby who was very interested in being involved in the mapping despite being rushed off her feet. Her involvement showed how everyone has different lifestyles, as she responded to the question about hobbies and free time with I don’t have hobbies or free time because I have a baby.

A woman joined in and spent quite a long time deliberating on the questions as she lives in the area around orts road but works and her child goes to school in a different area, so she was less familiar with the site. She had strong opinions on the fact that she would love a new swimming pool in the area as the existing pools have limited opening times and no longer have public diving board. Although, she is ‘proud’ of the River Kennet as her and her son throw bread to the ducks. They also spend time at a polish church which is on the outskirts of the site.

Most people chose their local community centres and churches as placed they are proud of and feel happiest. Overall, we got very positive responses to all the questions even what you would like to improve people had to really think about it; nothing sprung to mind, and some people even said nothing. Most people just ended up stating that they would like to improve Orts Road with one of the proposed play parks. The day was a success and we gathered lots of information and spoke to many people. We also managed to get quite a few people signed up for further discussions about the area and people to make further comments on the index cards.