Dr Andrew Wright

Job: Reader in Building Engineering Physics

Faculty: Technology

School/department: School of Engineering and Sustainable Development

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

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH, United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)116 257 7960

E: awright@dmu.ac.uk

W: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/research/centres-institutes/iesd/index.aspx

Social Media: themediafellow2011.blogspot.co.uk/


Personal profile

Andrew Wright is a Reader and joined the Institute in September 2004. He is Subject Group Leader for teaching of Energy and Sustainable Develoment, coordinator for the Research Excllence Framework (REF) for Unit 16 in IESD, and assists with international matters for ths school. Research interests include low energy buildings, energy in industry, and renewable energy in the developing world.

Following a degree in Applied Maths at Sheffield, he took an MSc in Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College, London, and for his PhD investigated computer modelling of the thermal performance of industrial buildings. Before coming to De Montfort, Andrew was the Programme Manager of a distance learning MSc course in Sustainable Electrical Building Services at UMIST (now University of Manchester), where he was also a researcher in the Tyndall (North) Centre for Climate Change Research. He has previously worked for the UK Electricity Industry at EA Technology Ltd near Chester; Newcastle University; and the Building Design Partnership in Manchester.

He has written many journal papers relating to energy use in buildings, and numerous reports for EA Technology ranging from the energy impacts of teleworking, to the effect of distributed generation on the electricity network. Andrew is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers, and a member of the Energy Institute. He has contributed to the design guides on Environmental Design (Volume A) and Weather (Volume J), and is a member of the Schools Design Group. He has also contributed to reports for Ofgem,  DECC and the Department of Health.

Research group affiliations

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development

Publications and outputs 

  • Are shallow boreholes a suitable option for inter-seasonal ground heat storage for the small housing sector?
    Are shallow boreholes a suitable option for inter-seasonal ground heat storage for the small housing sector? Naranjo-Mendoza, C.; Wright, A. J.; Greenough, R. M. In recent years, various researchers have studied the performance of Solar Assisted Ground Source Heat Pump (SAGSHP) systems using borehole heat exchangers. However, the research conducted has been limited to conventional boreholes (30m to 150m depth), which are expensive and not suitable for the small housing sector. This paper reports an experimental analysis of a shallow SAGSHP system with inter-seasonal storage. The system, installed in Leicester UK, consists of seven photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) collectors connected in series with an array of 16 shallow boreholes (1.5 meters depth). Data regarding the energy fluxes involved in the soil-based thermal store have been monitored and analysed for one year. The results show that the shallow soil is able to serve as a storage medium to cover the heating demands of a near zero energy domestic building. However, it was noticed that in addition to the solar heat captured and stored in the soil, the system covers part of the heating demand from heat extracted from the soil surrounding the thermal store. During winter, the lowest temperature reached by the soil so far is 2 °C. Hence, no freezing problems have occurred in the soil. An analysis of the temperature variation of the ground storage under the system operation is also shown. open access
  • A comparison of analytical and numerical model predictions of shallow soil temperature variation with experimental measurements
    A comparison of analytical and numerical model predictions of shallow soil temperature variation with experimental measurements Naranjo-Mendoza, C.; Wright, A. J.; Oyinlola, M. A.; Greenough, R. M. In several fields of enquiry such as geothermal energy, geology and agriculture, it is of interest to study the thermal behaviour of shallow soils. For this, several analytical and numerical methodologies have been proposed to analyse the temperature variation of the soil in the short and long term. In this paper, a comparative study of different models (sinusoidal, semi-infinite and finite difference method) is conducted to estimate the shallow soil temperature variation in the short and long term. The models were compared with hourly experimental measured data of soil temperature in Leicester, UK, at depths between 0.75 and 2.75 m. The results show that the sinusoidal model is not appropriate to evaluate the short-term temperature variations, such as hourly or daily fluctuations. Likewise, this model is highly affected by the undisturbed ground temperature and can lead to very high errors. Regarding the semi-infinite model, it is accurate enough to predict the short-term temperature variation. However, it is useless to predict the long-term variation at depths greater than 1 m. The finite difference method (FDM) considering the air temperature as a boundary condition for the soil surface is the most accurate approach for estimating both short and long-term temperature variations while the FDM with heat flux as boundary condition is the least accurate approach due to the uncertainty of the assumed parameters. The ranges of errors for the sinusoidal, semi-infinite and FDM are found to be from 76.09 to 142.13%, 12.11 to 104.88% and 1.82 to 28.14% respectively. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • An experimental investigation into the use of water to provide thermal mass in building fabric
    An experimental investigation into the use of water to provide thermal mass in building fabric Wright, A. J.; Pascarel, Elise The development of renewable energy is essential, however many renewable resources are intermittent. Therefore, developing storage techniques has become a major issue of the energy field. In particular, thermal energy storage can help to manage resources, reducing energy consumption and improving passive buildings. Heavy masonry materials (brick, stone, concrete) have been used for many centuries, and use of phase change materials have been researched recently for this role. But water, which has one of the highest sensible heat capacities known and is free, appears so far to have been almost neglected. This paper presents an experimental laboratory study into the use of water as a sensible thermal storage medium, and a comparison with sand, which has similar properties to masonry. The thermal responses of ‘walls’ containing water or sand have been measured for various dynamic thermal inputs. The experiments were done with an insulated box of length 125 cm, width 60 cm and depth 60 cm, with separate insulated lid. Various ‘walls’ were installed, separating the box into two equal parts. For the first set of experiments, the dividing wall was a box made of 4mm acrylic sheet, internal width 40mm. For the second set of experiments, the wall was made of 6 stackable 5 litre plastic water containers. A heat mat was placed in one half of the box, connected to a DC power supply. Experiments were done with the box top entirely insulated, or with just the heated side insulated, the other side being open to the air, or with the heated side covered but not insulated. The response of the system to various step and cyclic heat inputs, corresponding to heat gains in a room, was investigated. Twelve thermocouples were fixed at different points in the rig, in order to measure the evolution of temperature over time. A heat flux sensor was used to measure heat flow across the wall surfaces. These data were collected with the software LabVIEW and analysed using a spreadsheet. Significant differences in thermal response were observed between water and sand. It was found that the water can store more heat than sand, taking longer to warm up and release heat. Due to convective processes, the heat also transferred more quickly into the water, and across the acrylic box when filled with water compared to sand. These results show that water acts as an effective sensible heat storage medium, and unlike phase change materials will operate across a wide temperature range. Water thermal storage could be applied in buildings, or temporary structures, to provide effective thermal mass at low cost to provide improved comfort and reduced energy consumption.
  • Evaluation of the viability of solar PV for Kurdistan
    Evaluation of the viability of solar PV for Kurdistan Wright, A. J.; Bulbas, Tavgar Iraqi Kurdistan, or officially the Kurdistan Region, is an autonomous region of Iraq. Following the Iraq war of 2003, it became relatively stable and prosperous, at least compared to the rest of Iraq which was very unstable. More recently the Kurdistan Region has played a major role in the war against ISIS, and receiving large numbers of refugees and displaced persons from surrounding conflict zones, particularly Syria. These factors have led to a rapid increase in energy demand. The region has gas and oil, and also generates hydro power. Most of the country is on the electricity grid, but supply is often unable to meet demand causing frequent power cuts and rationing. Some of the shortfall is made up by private generators connected locally to the grid. Solar photovoltaic (PV) power has seen rapid growth globally in recent years due mainly to falling prices of panels, and proven performance. In the Kurdistan Region PV has very low penetration, but great potential given high levels of solar radiation. However, within the Kurdistan Region there is great variation in the viability of PV power due to differences in climate, political stability, and proximity to conflict. This paper, using novel data gathering methods because conventional approaches are impractical, assesses the potential for PV in 31 locations according to seven criteria, and gives an overall score from 0 to 10. Eight scored 8-10; fourteen scored 6-7. The results show a wide variation in suitability of PV. A similar approach could be applied to analyze viability in other regions with similar issues. The technical options for PV connection are considered, including cost and potential for islanding, together with other renewable energy options.
  • Vulnerability and resilience in energy efficient homes: thermal response to heatwaves
    Vulnerability and resilience in energy efficient homes: thermal response to heatwaves Toledo, Linda; Cropper, Paul; Wright, A. J. During heat waves, people experience both external and internal temperatures, but they are likely to spend most of their time indoors. This situation is aggravated by the fact that the majority of excess-deaths during a heat wave occur amongst the vulnerable population. In addition, energy efficient homes can worsen this scenario since internal temperatures are prone to respond quicker to heat gains, aggravating heat stress. This paper is concerned with the vulnerability and resilience to heat waves of low carbon homes. A monitoring study of four energy efficient homes in the UK during the short heat wave experienced in 2015 is analysed. A close exploration of the variability of internal temperatures recorded with high resolution and in each room allows the areas of greatest risk to be mapped. These results are linked to occupants’ responses. The analysis shows how building characteristics and ventilation can affect thermal conditions, and how design should take this into account.
  • Micro-encapsulated phase change material (MPCM) slurries: Characterization and building applications
    Micro-encapsulated phase change material (MPCM) slurries: Characterization and building applications Qiu, Zhongzhu; Ma, Xiaoli; Li, Peng; Zhao, Xudong; Wright, A. J. Micro-encapsulated Phase Change Material (MPCM) slurries, acting as the heat transfer fluids or thermal storage mediums, have gained applications in various building thermal energy systems, significantly enhancing their energy efficiency and operational performance. This paper presents a review of research on MPCM slurries and their building applications. The research collects information on the currently available MPCM particles and shells, studies of the physical, structural and thermal stability, and rheological properties of MPCM slurries, and identification/determination of the critical parameters and dimensionless numbers relating to the MPCM slurries’ heat transfer. The research suggests possible approaches for enhancing the heat transfer between a MPCM slurry and its surroundings, while several controversial phenomena and potential causes were also investigated. Furthermore, the research presents mathematical correlations established between different thermal and physical parameters relating to the MPCM slurries, and introduces a number of practical applications of the MPCM slurries in building thermal energy systems. Based on such extensive review and analyses, the research will help in identifying the current status, potential problems in existence, and future directions in research, development and practical application of MPCM slurries. It will also promote the development and application of cost-effective and energy-efficient PCM materials and thus contribute to achieving the UK and international targets in energy saving and carbon emission reductions in the building sector and beyond. This paper was written in collaboration with researchers at the University of Hull.
  • Unintended consequences of sustainable architecture: Evaluating overheating risks in new dwellings
    Unintended consequences of sustainable architecture: Evaluating overheating risks in new dwellings Toledo, Linda; Cropper, Paul; Wright, A. J. Governmental strategies to reduce heating demand from dwellings have led to a range of problems relating to ventilation and occupant comfort. In fact, growing evidence of uncomfortably warm homes has been appearing in UK consistently in the few last years. This paper discusses the overheating risk in four highly insulated homes in the UK where a mixed methods approach has been deployed to characterise areas of overheating risk, which have been found to occur with different degree of severity and different sources of risk, all related to design and occupant behaviour.
  • Benchmarking acute hospitals: Composite electricity targets based on departmental consumption intensities?
    Benchmarking acute hospitals: Composite electricity targets based on departmental consumption intensities? Morgenstern, Paula; Li, Maria; Raslan, Rokia; Ruyssevelt, PAul; Wright, A. J. This study aims to explore how meaningful energy benchmarks—reflecting good energy management and design—can be constructed for hospital buildings, a category encompassing complex buildings with different set-ups and large variability between them. Current energy targets are sometimes considered of limited use by facility professionals in health care because they do not take account of differences in service delivery between acute hospitals which result in differing use of medical equipment and requirements for room conditioning. For this study, the electricity use of a number of department types has been quantified using on-site measurements. Findings confirm that different hospital departments have hugely varied electricity consumption characteristics. Wards, day clinics and some other departments have lower average consumption intensities which are reasonably well reflected by current hospital electricity benchmarks. Theatres, laboratories and also departments such as imaging and radiotherapy showed much higher consumption intensities exceeding available targets. A revision of current energy benchmarks for the latter category is therefore strongly recommended. It is further proposed to develop composite benchmarks for hospitals taking into account differing energy intensities at a departmental level for guidance and as basis for certification. Gold Open Access article
  • Improving the Performance of Solar PV Installation in Rural Locations in Nigeria: A Case Study
    Improving the Performance of Solar PV Installation in Rural Locations in Nigeria: A Case Study Wright, A. J.; Onasanya, Mobolaji This is a conference presentation on the problems of PV powered borehole pumping systems in Nigeria. Many have been installed but fallen into disrepair due to lack of maintenance, lack of money and poor organisation. The presentation looks at the factors causing this and some possible solutions.
  • Optimization of dwelling design under current and future climates using evolutionary algorithms in EnergyPlus
    Optimization of dwelling design under current and future climates using evolutionary algorithms in EnergyPlus Wright, A. J.; Korolija, Ivan; Zhang, Yi Designers of low energy dwellings face many challenges in making best use of space, and providing day lit and pleasant spaces, while minimising heat loss and overall carbon emissions to meet various environmental and legislative targets. These also have to be achieved within financial, spatial and planning constraints. In other words, the design exercise is a multi-criteria optimization exercise. Usually this is done using experience through iterative design development, assisted by various software tools ranging from relatively simple models such as the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP), to detailed thermal simulation. This paper describes the use of parametric simulations using EnergyPlus on a computer cluster to arrive at optimal solutions, for both current and future climates. The tool is applied to some modern house designs proposed for developments in the UK.

Click here for a full listing of Andrew Wright's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

How heating controls affect domestic energy demand: a rapid evidence assessment. Munton A., Wright A., Mallaburn P., and Boait P. Report for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Available at  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/277552/FINALHow_heating_controls_affect_domestic_energy_demand_-_A_Rapid_Evidence_Assessment.pdf

Wright A, What is the relationship between built form and energy use in dwellings?, Energy Policy, Vol 36, Iss 12, pp 4544-4547, (2008), ISSN 4544-4547

Wright AJ and Firth S, The nature of domestic electricity-loads and effects of time averaging on statistics and on-site generation calculations, Applied Energy, Vol 84, pp 389-403, (2007), ISSN: 0306-2619

Retrofitting Homes for Energy Efficiency: An Integrated Approach to Innovation in the Low-Carbon Overhaul of UK Social Housing. Crilly, Michael ; Lemon, Mark ; Wright, A. J. ; Cook, Matthew ; Shaw, D.

Shipworth M, Firth SK, Gentry MI, Wright AJ, Shipworth DT & Lomas KJ (2009), Central heating thermostat settings and timing: building demographics, Building Research & Information, Vol 38, Iss 1, pp 50-69

Kelly S, Shipworth M, Shipworth D, Gentry M, Wright A, Pollit M, Crawford-Brown D & Lomas K (2012), Predicting the diversity of internal temperatures from the English residential sector using panel methods, Applied Energy Volume 102, February 2013, Pages 601–621.

Research interests/expertise

Energy in buildings and thermal storage; modelling, monitoring and climate change in relation to buildings,  retrofit.

Areas of teaching

Building physics, energy use and environment of buildings, research methods.


BSc Applied Maths, MSc Atmospheric Physics, PhD

Courses taught

Energy in Buildings Module, Sustainable Energy, Energy and Thermal Performance  (IESD MSc courses)  

Honours and awards

British Science Association Media Fellow 2011

Membership of external committees

CIBSE: Chair of Schools design group

Membership of professional associations and societies

Fellow of CIBSE

Member of the Energy Institute, 2013

Professional licences and certificates

Chartered Engineer 1988 -

Conference attendance

Wright, A.J., Korolija I.,Zhang Y. Optimization of dwelling design under current and future climates using parametric simulations in EnergyPlus, CIBSE Technical Symposium- Delivering Buildings that are truly fit for purpose, Liverpool, April 2013.

A. J. Wright, M.R Oates, R. Greenough. Concepts for dynamic modeling of energy-related flows in manufacturing, Applied Energy Conference, Suzhou, China, July 2012.

Wright, A. J.. Use of Passivhaus design principles in low energy retrofit for UK social housing. 14 International Passive House Conference 2010. Dresden, Germany, Passivhaus Institute.

Wright, A. J. and N. Brown. The Analysis and interpretation of half hourly utility data in UK buildings. Fifth international conference on Improving Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings 2008 (IEECB). Frankfurt, European Commission DG JRC.

Consultancy work

Academic lead on Knowledge Transfer Partnership with York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (2011 – 2013).

Energy use in buildings, various modelling projects, leading commercial activities in IESD.

Work for Ofgem with Element Energy to produce electricity profiles for non-domestic buildings, published http://www.element-energy.co.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Demand-Side-Response-in-the-non-domestic-sector.pdf

Co-author of DECC report on use of domestic heating controls (2013).

Current research students




Carlos Naranjo-Mendoz

Full-time 2nd

Evangelos Sakellariou

Full-time 1st

Alfonso Senatore

Part-time 1st

Jamal Saif

Full-time 1st 

Externally funded research grants information

Projects lead on:

LESSONS project, TSB, collaborative research, April 2010 – March 2013, PI for DMU work, Pick Everard, Vanguard Homes Ltd., IES

THERM, TSB, collaborative research, Sep 2008 – Aug 2010, CI, Toyota, Airbus, IES

Retrofit for the Future, TSB, 6 projects, 2009-2012, East Midland Housing, Newcastle City Council, Vanguard Homes, PI for DMU work.

Closing the Gap, i_net, PI, Jeld Wen UK Ltd, Vanguard Homes, Nottingham Trent University, 2010.

Professional esteem indicators

Journal Refereeing information:

Building Research and Information; Energy and buildings; Building and Environment; Building Services Research Information and Technology

Other Reviewing Activities:

Conferences: COBRA 2009, Building Simulation (Sydney) 2011, Building Simulation 2013, 2015.

Case studies

Work on our Retrofit for the Future project (reported on TV and other media) is influencing retrofit and new build thinking for East Midlands Housing Group.

Advising on development of a ‘solar house’ which stores solar heat energy from the summer underground, and uses it to heat the house during the winter. This is under construction in Great Glen near Leicester by Caplin Homes.  I was interviewed about this on Radio Leicester in March and it featured in the Leicester Mercury.


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