Dr Andrew Reeves

Job: Associate Professor

Faculty: Computing, Engineering and Media

School/department: School of Engineering and Sustainable Development

Research group(s): Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)

Address: IESD, Queens Building,De Montfort University,Leicester,LE1 9BH, UK

T: +44 (0)116 250 6569

E: areeves@dmu.ac.uk

W: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/iesd

Social Media: https://andrewreeves.our.dmu.ac.uk/


Personal profile

Andrew is a social scientist and educator with an academic focus on learning-based approaches to address the climate emergency and sustainable development within community and organisational settings.

Andrew is DMU’s Project Director for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and leads on the Environmental Sustainability theme for DMU’s ‘Universities for Leicester’ partnership with the University of Leicester.

His current research and knowledge exchange projects include the ‘Race to Zero Carbon Accelerator’ for Leicester, which is providing training and sustainability audits for SMEs to develop action plans to address climate change. Andrew is also co-ordinating a one-year Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) collaborative project to develop guidance on addressing sustainability issues within academic quality and student-voice processes for taught courses.

Prior recent research includes the Horizon2020 ‘eTEACHER’ project, which promoted energy-saving behaviour change in buildings across Europe via a gamified web-based app. Previous projects have focussed on capacity building for place-based climate change and sustainability initiatives in the Leicester area including “Communities Cutting Carbon” and Sustainable Harborough”. Andrew's PhD thesis explored the viability of achieving deep carbon emission cuts in existing social housing stock from an economic, social and technical perspective.

Andrew is module leader for "Leading Change for Sustainability”, which focuses on behaviour change and the practice of designing for pro-environmental change within social and organisational systems.

Andrew currently co-supervises five PhD students, each examining real-world sustainability initiatives in a range of contexts. These include the low-carbon retrofit of UK housing, sustainable housing and schooling in Nigeria and addressing sustainability in UK schools and universities. Previous supervised PhD research has addressed climate change adaptation in small island developing states, community-based sustainability, wellbeing through nature-connection and carbon footprint reduction through peer-to-peer support. All projects have drawn on cross-disciplinary approaches, focussing either on the UK or the Global South.

Previously at DMU, Andrew worked as a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Learning and Study Support (CLaSS), specialising in support for doctoral students and innovating in online and participatory approaches to teaching and learning.

Outside of his role at DMU, Andrew has co-founded several Leicester-based grassroots sustainability initiatives including Leicestershire’s first community energy co-operative, Greenlight festival and Leicester Carbon Rationing Action Group.

Research group affiliations

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)

Publications and outputs

  • Editorial: The role of the human dimension in promoting education for sustainable development at the regional level
    dc.title: Editorial: The role of the human dimension in promoting education for sustainable development at the regional level dc.contributor.author: Dlouhá, Jana; White, Rehema, M.; Petry, Roger; Reeves, Andrew; Lozano, Rodrigo dc.description.abstract: The Frontiers in Sustainability Research Topic “The role of the human dimension in promoting education for sustainable development at the regional level” is comprised of nine articles. This theme was developed in collaboration with editors representing Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) from different regions of the world. In general, RCEs provide a framework in which regional networks of higher education institutions (HEIs), public, private, and civil society organizations play the role of critical partners in the implementation of sustainable development appropriate to regional contexts. The RCE concept is internationally accepted and has been used since 2003. Currently there are 190 RCEs around the world that strive to bridge formal and non-formal education in their respective regions to create an integrated and contextualized agenda on how learning for sustainable development can be better implemented to achieve more sustainable societies and ecological integrity. The involvement of diverse regional actors within an RCE, and the nature of the learning processes that underpin their activities in practice, serve as a model for how to shape ESD in general. However, the growing network of these regional associations with its potential global impact raises many questions. Not only do RCEs offer a new approach to regional development, driven by the sustainability focus of the RCEs, but they also challenge the traditional role of HEIs in generating the knowledge necessary for development processes. To answer some of these questions, the papers in this Research Topic discuss the processes of learning in different regional contexts and their transformative effects. These processes have the potential not only to influence the current environmental, social, and economic situation in different regions, but also to bring innovation to the education system. The papers often focus on the agency of social actors (institutions, networks, and individuals), their shared visions, and their roles and activities carried out in a local/regional context to achieve desirable common goals—the social capital they collectively generate. The research in this Research Topic thus emphasizes the human dimension of these processes, where the exchange of ideas about the future and critical thinking are essential preconditions for change—as opposed to the (often overestimated) focus on technology. An important keyword is innovation: in a safe social environment with supportive relationships, new solutions to persistent problems can emerge, and new perspectives driven by creativity can provide space to ask fundamental questions. dc.description: open access article
  • Seeing the wood for the trees: a heuristic framework to enable the integration of sustainability education in higher education settings
    dc.title: Seeing the wood for the trees: a heuristic framework to enable the integration of sustainability education in higher education settings dc.contributor.author: Gwilliam, Julie; Reeves, Andrew; Timuș, Natalia dc.description.abstract: This paper puts forward a conceptual framework to support the dual challenges of strategic and practical integrative action of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) across Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). There are numerous existing resources and toolkits providing appropriate actions, guidance or approaches to monitor and measure ESD engagement. Our intended distinctive contribution in this paper is to complement these with heuristic ways of thinking that offer clarity on the context and evolution of progress on ESD at an institutional level. Our proposals were developed through structured comparative discussions by ESD practitioners from seven European universities, leading to a consensus view on key contextual influences across a range of environments, embodied in our proposed heuristic metaphors. The resulting proposed framework, built upon a systems-based visual metaphor of a forest ecosystem of HEIs, proposes the use of the dimensions of capacity and commitment, to define an integrative framework with four positional scenarios: ”Pockets of Practice”, “Emerging Agenda” to ”Integrated Impact” and “Off the Agenda”. To illustrate its application, it is used to contextualize relevant steps to progress ESD associated with each scenario in the areas of strategy, staff development, formal education and extra-curricular opportunities. We argue that the adoption of such a framework by HEI practitioners could support day-to-day decision-making and strategic planning towards an integrated approach to ESD that engages with all areas of university activity. dc.description: open access article This work was developed from a European Universities Association Collaborative Enhancement Project, examining how environmental sustainability could be addressed in the curriculum for Higher Education Institutions. Project webpage: https://eua.eu/resources/publications/964:environmental-sustainability-of-learning-and-teaching.html
  • Putting Sustainable Development at the heart of Transnational Education: Principles and Practice from a UK-UAE Partnership
    dc.title: Putting Sustainable Development at the heart of Transnational Education: Principles and Practice from a UK-UAE Partnership dc.contributor.author: Reeves, Andrew; Ridon, Manjeet; Lawson, Stuart dc.description.abstract: Transnational Education (TNE) is a significant and growing area of activity for higher education institutions, through which universities establish overseas partnerships or campuses to enable international students to study close to home to achieve internationally recognised qualifications. Whilst TNE is frequently understood as being income-driven and has been critiqued from the stance of post-colonialism, there is arguably significant potential for its adoption to positively contribute to the sustainable development agenda embodied in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This potential contribution is addressed here by discussing the experience of De Montfort University (DMU) in the UK, in seeking to put sustainable development at the heart of its TNE approach when establishing its DMU Dubai campus in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), launched in 2021. A range of innovative curriculum-based, co-curricular and operational practices at DMU Dubai are highlighted, that extended the Education for Sustainable Development initiatives already underway at DMU’s UK campus and contextualised them for the UAE environment. These practices are used to illustrate a proposed framework of principles and indicators that can shed light on how TNE activity can address the SDGs. In so doing, the paper introduces ‘Transformative TNE’ as a concept which highlights an aspirational approach to TNE practice which delivers educational, civic and socio-economic benefits aligned to the sustainable development agenda.
  • Engaging the Owner Occupier towards a Net Zero future via a Persona Modelling Framework
    dc.title: Engaging the Owner Occupier towards a Net Zero future via a Persona Modelling Framework dc.contributor.author: Rowlatt, John; Reeves, Andrew; Brown, Neil; Morton, Ashley dc.description.abstract: The U.K. government commissions an annual English Housing Survey and then uses Acorn consumer classification software to produce 5 personae to plan policy around. However, they do not create tailored engagement plans to enact them, rather they follow the Shared Value model originating from the Harvard Business School. At present Owner Occupiers make up 64% of the U.K. housing market, therefore voter backlash from unpopular policies is a key government concern when considering regulation. Therefore, without appropriate governance we need to understand what would motivate this group to take action for themselves. However, before you can make any appropriate engagement strategy to support policy roll out, knowledge is needed of their drivers or barriers, opinions and beliefs. Building upon a 2021 ECEEE presentation, using both quantitative and qualitative data capture this work currently engages a specific, focused group, of approximately 2000 participants chosen due to close demographic matching with the typical Household Representative Person. Via survey and then focus groups it challenges assumptions around who makes decisions on energy efficiency, their motivations and barriers, and provides data on who are their trusted messengers – current survey results indicate that 82.1% of respondents do not trust that the government regularly puts voter interests above their own… Persona modelling, cognitive theory and behavioural insights will be used to create a flexible, end user driven, framework that facilitates and motivates participants to feel engaged and then empowered to make decisions around behavioural changes resulting in increased installation rates of energy efficiency retro-fit measures. The ultimate aim of the work is to create the equivalent of the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter that can listen to their needs via an interactive api. This then matches them to positive role model stories containing embedded support links that match their tailored profile, consequently creating agency and motivation.
  • ICT in context: co-designing energy efficiency ICT-based interventions from the ground up
    dc.title: ICT in context: co-designing energy efficiency ICT-based interventions from the ground up dc.contributor.author: Morton, Ashley; Reeves, Andrew; Bull, Richard dc.description.abstract: In an ever-increasing digital environment, the need for successful utilisation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) within energy efficiency interventions is never more prominent. The use of ICT can aid the digitalisation of actions, improve information access to users, increase user awareness and harness potential energy savings. However, with the increased push to utilise ICT within energy efficiency interventions, we often focus on the technological benefits and potential energy savings rather than listening to the end-user’s needs. As such many ICT-based energy efficiency interventions fail to produce the impact expected, often resulting from user disengagement, a complex array of competing demands on target users and misaligned perceptions of end-user’s willingness and understanding. Co-design methodologies allow for the end-user to become part of designing a successful solution which takes into consideration the context in which the ICT-based intervention is being implemented. This paper presents findings from an EU H2020 funded project, eTEACHER, which aimed to empower energy end-users in achieving energy savings and improved health and comfort conditions in a range of building typologies by enabling behaviour change via a set of ICT solutions, including an app and website sharing building-specific data. The paper presents novel results of co-design workshops held across 12 pilot buildings in three European countries, covering several residential and non-residential building typologies, and with various target end-user groups. The paper presents the requirements for energy efficiency ICT-based interventions from the ground up, highlighting the complexities behind user preferences. This paper discusses the challenges involved with designing one tool which fits across diverse building and user typologies and provides reflections on lessons learnt in empowering end-users towards energy efficiency in an ever-increasing digital reality.
  • A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet; Uncovering the hidden Service-Learning in UK Higher Education’s pedagogical Practice
    dc.title: A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet; Uncovering the hidden Service-Learning in UK Higher Education’s pedagogical Practice dc.contributor.author: Thomson, Sarah; Reeves, Andrew; Charlton, Mark dc.description.abstract: It is commonly recognised in the United Kingdom (UK) Higher Education (HE) sector that the United States has dominated the practice of applying and articulating Service-Learning as a pedagogical approach for several decades (see Bringle and Hatcher, 1996; Morton and Troppe, 1996; Eyler and Giles, 1999; Furco and Billig, 2002; Butin, 2003). The use of Service-Learning as a pedagogical approach is an emerging field in the UK, responding to strategic agendas such as assessment of academic impact within the Research Excellence Framework and the civic role of universities. The first Service-Learning/Community Based Learning network meeting was held in May 2020 bringing together practitioners and researchers from across 20 UK institutions. The new network immediately identified the need to articulate key terminology and definitions aligned to examples of practice, to enable Service-Learning to be more widely adopted, embedded and evaluated in a national context. This chapter addresses this need by aiming to explore if, and how, courses delivered at a case study UK HE institution align with the concept of Service-Learning. An online survey was used with teaching staff at De Montfort University in the English midlands, building upon eighteen months of staff engagement activity to promote the concept of Service-Learning. The European Observatory of Service Learning in Higher Education (EOSLHE) definition was employed to analyse responses. Analysis of the data identified strong interest in Service-Learning and of using real-world learning activities within taught courses, but found relatively few programmes that fully meet the EOSLHE definition. Service-Learning practices were found to be present across a wide range of programmes, not only those that have a more obviously applied or community-facing focus. The data also highlighted some factors affecting take-up, such as whether providing or assessing service is viewed as most pedagogically appropriate within particular courses. The data revealed many cases where a shift from real-world learning that doesn’t engage with the community towards adoption of the mutually beneficial approach of Service-Learning could be achieved through relatively small-scale changes to activities or assessments. Thus, the chapter argues that ‘Service-Learning’, or whatever we name the ‘rose’, is likely to be present within many HE institutions, and can bring rich and immediate benefits to the student, the university and the community, however hidden they are and whatever name they are given.
  • Low-Carbon Retrofit of UK Social Housing and Overheating Risks: Causes and Mitigation Strategies
    dc.title: Low-Carbon Retrofit of UK Social Housing and Overheating Risks: Causes and Mitigation Strategies dc.contributor.author: Kerr, Daniel William; Reeves, Andrew dc.description.abstract: Social and affordable rented housing is a significant housing sector across Europe. In the UK, the sector accounts for one in six homes, and houses some of the most vulnerable members of society in terms of health, income, and disability. Social housing is relatively advanced compared to other UK tenures in implementing low-carbon retrofit measures, such as solid wall insulation and draught proofing. However, such measures can increase the likelihood of summer overheating, which can lead to a range of negative health impacts, including increased mortality. Due to their vulnerability, many social housing tenants are less able to adapt to and manage overheating at home. This paper uses the case study of social housing managed by a UK local authority in a city in the English Midlands to identify factors linked to low-carbon retrofit which may increase overheating risks, and mitigation strategies that could be adopted by social landlords to manage them. Based on engagement with the local authority, the paper highlights a range of dwelling-specific overheating risk factors including aspect, built form, glazed area and available control measures within a home such as shutters and operable windows. Low-carbon retrofit is identified as frequently increasing overheating risks through reducing heat loss and increasing air tightness. The mitigation measures identified are predominantly behavioural, such as appropriate use of windows for ventilation and time-shifting heat-emitting appliance use. Low-cost technical measures, such as window tinting and solar shading, are also put forward. Through engagement with the case study local authority, potential practical steps for implementing these approaches are put forward which build upon existing processes for retrofit, housing management and tenant support. These include new communication resources using methods currently employed for addressing energy poverty, and overheating risk assessment procedures.
  • Digging deeper: Gardening as a way to develop non-human relationships through connection with Nature
    dc.title: Digging deeper: Gardening as a way to develop non-human relationships through connection with Nature dc.contributor.author: Bell-Williams, Rebecca; Irvine, Katherine; Reeves, Andrew; Warber, Sara dc.description.abstract: Gardening as a leisure activity provides an often overlooked opportunity to examine the relationship between individuals and nature. Gardening offers a unique insight into the role that interaction with nature may play in wellbeing and in particular in instances of isolation and loneliness. The global lockdown created by the Covid-19 pandemic saw those households with private gardens being largely restricted to those spaces for both physical activity and mental respite, with many discovering this multifaceted role of gardens for perhaps the first time. This study reports on data collected prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and explores how gardeners experience much more from garden spaces than is often thought. As such it seems timely to examine how wellbeing may be enhanced and developed through interaction with nature in the context of urban gardens. The study reported here included semi-structured interviews with 25 gardeners to explore their gardening experiences. Thematic analysis of the data revealed that in the context of gardening, a meaningful relationship between gardener and garden was supported and developed through key themes of: Contribution, Connection, Awareness, and Being Self, with An-Other (that being the garden). This study thus suggests that gardening could be seen to provide a place and activity in which meaningful connections could be made outside of relationships with other humans. This has important wellbeing implications for those who may find it difficult to interact with others, are at risk of isolation and loneliness or may be in an unprecedented situation in which enforced isolation occurs. dc.description: open access journal
  • Low-Carbon Social Housing Retrofit and Overheating Risk: A Review
    dc.title: Low-Carbon Social Housing Retrofit and Overheating Risk: A Review dc.contributor.author: Kerr, Daniel William; Reeves, Andrew dc.description.abstract: This report provides a review of the current state of knowledge on low-carbon retrofit of social housing, and how these retrofits may affect the risk of overheating in social housing properties post-retrofit. Overheating risk assessment is a growing area of concern in built environment research, and the drive for warmer homes in winter, and more energy efficient homes, has led to increasing levels of energy efficiency retrofits in the domestic sector. However, a lesser amount of work has been done to date on how these energy efficiency retrofits could increase the risk of properties overheating in warmer periods. This is particularly relevant considering the potential for warmer summers going forward in a future warming climate. A number of definitions are available at present for what constitutes overheating in a property. Accepted definitions from human thermal comfort research put the comfortable range of temperatures for human domestic occupation at between 19°C and 26°C, but surveys have shown that a number of different property construction types in different locations around the country exceed these temperatures on a semi-regular basis during warm periods. This is due to a wide array of factors, broadly categorised in this report as location-based risks, property-based risks, and occupancy-based risks. Location risks are associated with the physical environment of the property: factors such as local albedo, urban heat island effect and prevalent wind patterns are all location-based risks. Property-based risks involve the built form of the property and its design: the number of fabric elements, overall glazed area and orientation of the property are examples of property-based risks. Finally, occupancy-based risks are associated with how residents use the property: factors such as appliance use, window-opening regimes, the use of blinds and occupancy profiles are all occupancy-based risks. There are a range of technical and non-technical measures available to mitigate the risk of overheating in social housing. Technical measures should follow a hierarchy of passive through active, with focus being placed on zero- or low-energy measures first, then moving to more active solutions if passive solutions are not having sufficient effect. Passive measures include increasing passive heat rejection through window-opening, window tinting to prevent solar gains, and installation of external or internal shading. Active solutions include mechanical heat rejection (such as ventilation systems) or mechanical cooling (such as air conditioning systems). Behavioural measures should focus on how the user operates the home system, and put emphasis on proper methods for through-ventilation for heat rejection, window opening and closing regimes and time-shifting of heat-rejecting appliance use. This report recommends implementing a communications procedure through the Council website where social housing tenants can find advice on overheating and feed back about overheating they experience, and an assessment procedure for use in tenancy gaps and post-retrofit to assess properties for overheating risk.
  • Empowering and Engaging European building users for energy efficiency
    dc.title: Empowering and Engaging European building users for energy efficiency dc.contributor.author: Morton, Ashley; Reeves, Andrew; Bull, Richard; Preston, Sam dc.description.abstract: Amidst the challenge of improving energy efficiency in the built environment, increasing attention is being put on how to engage and empower building users. Research shows that improving and widening user engagement, such as involving users in co-designing interventions, has potential to foster greater acceptance and impact. In this context, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has a major role to play, through feedback tools, smartphone or web-based apps, interactive dashboards and gamification. However, there are few empirical accounts exploring how user engagement can effectively shape development of an ICT-based energy efficiency intervention. This paper presents findings from the eTEACHER project which aims to empower building energy end-users to reduce energy consumption through a set of related ICT-based interventions. These interventions, including a web-based app and building-specific ‘what-if’ analysis have been developed by drawing upon feedback from pilot users in 12 buildings, including both residential and non-domestic, across three EU countries. A structured evidence-based approach to user engagement was followed, which included site visits, a series of building user workshops and a questionnaire. The paper reflects on the challenges and benefits of empowering and engaging building users across a wide range of building types, residential, offices, schools and health care centres using a single app. Our findings show common challenges across building types in tackling existing inefficient energy behaviours. However significant hurdles were encountered in implementing the ICT-based interventions, which are building specific. Based upon this, recommendations on how engagement processes can support the development of ICT-based interventions are put forward. dc.description: open access article

Click here to view a full listing of Andrew Reeves' publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

Sowing Seeds and Promising a Harvest: Learning from the Delivery and Evaluation of a Local Sustainability Transition Initiative in the UK
Reeves, A. and Mitchell, A. (2016) Sowing Seeds and Promising a Harvest: Learning from the Delivery and Evaluation of a Local Sustainability Transition Initiative in the UK. Paper presented to International Energy Policy and Programme Evaluation Conference (IEPPEC), Amsterdam, 7-9 June 2016.

Exploring Local and Community Capacity to Reduce Fuel Poverty: The Case of Home Energy Advice Visits in the UK
Reeves, A. (2016) Exploring Local and Community Capacity to Reduce Fuel Poverty: The Case of Home Energy Advice Visits in the UK. Energies, 9 (4), pp 27

Jump-starting transition? Catalysing grassroots action on climate change

Reeves, A., Lemon, M. and Cook, D. (2014) Jump-starting transition? Catalysing grassroots action on climate change. Energy Efficiency, 7 (1), pp. 115-132

Making it viable: exploring the influence of organisational context on efforts to achieve deep carbon emission cuts in existing UK social housing.
Reeves, A. (2010) Making it viable: exploring the influence of organisational context on efforts to achieve deep carbon emission cuts in existing UK social housing. Energy Efficiency, 4 (1), pp. 75-92

Modelling the potential to achieve deep carbon emission cuts in existing UK social housing: The case of Peabody.
Reeves, A., Taylor, S. and Fleming, P. (2010) Modelling the potential to achieve deep carbon emission cuts in existing UK social housing: The case of Peabody. Energy Policy, 38 (8), pp. 4241-4251.

Research interests/expertise

Education for Sustainable Development

Sustainable Communities

Energy Efficiency

Conservation Psychology


Social Enterprise

Learning Development

Action Research

Areas of teaching

Module Leader: Leading Change for Sustainability (MSc Energy and Sustainable Development).


PhD         Energy and Sustainable Development (De Montfort University)         2006-2009

MMath     Mathematics (four-year masters degree, 1st class, hons)                  1996-2000

Membership of professional associations and societies

Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)

Consultancy work


Current research students

  • John Rowlatt -1st Supervisor (promoting low carbon housing retrofit through persona modelling)
  • Abi Okoya - 1st Supervisor (innovation in education and sustainable development in Nigeria)
  • Huraira Umar Baba - 1st Supervisor (compressed earth blocks as a sustainable building material in Nigeria)
  • Sarah Thomson  - 2nd Supervisor (barriers to Service Learning in UK higher education)
  • Tasnina Karim - 2nd supervisor (gender issues  influencing sustainability education in secondary schools)

Professional esteem indicators

  • Chair of the East Midlands Regional Centre of Excellence (RCE) for Education for Sustainable Development (2019-)