Dr Birgit Painter

Job: Associate Professor

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 7957

E: bpainter@dmu.ac.uk

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

 

Personal profile

Dr Birgit Painter is a long-term member of the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD), with particular interests in building performance evaluation and smart/advanced built environment. 

Following the award of the degree of Diplom-Ingenieur in Environmental Technology (TH Lübeck, Germany), Birgit first joined the IESD as a research student, and completed a PhD project with a focus on personal exposure to particulate matter. She has subsequently been involved in various research activities regarding building performance evaluation, looking at visual and thermal comfort, and linking qualitative performance data to human factors. Birgit has experience in environmental monitoring, particularly regarding the design and execution of long-term data collection campaigns. 

Birgit is programme leader for the IET accredited course MSc Engineering Management. She teaches on the IESD’s MSc courses, as module leader for Sustainable Buildings, and supervises PhD and MSc projects.

Research group affiliations

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development

Publications and outputs 

  • SPaCE- Sensory Processing and Classroom Environments: Methodology for evaluating and improving teaching spaces for better student experience
    SPaCE- Sensory Processing and Classroom Environments: Methodology for evaluating and improving teaching spaces for better student experience Bassford, Marie; Painter, B. SPaCE combines building assessment and pedagogic research to establish improved ‘inclusive learning spaces’ to improve the health and wellbeing of all students, including those with a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses. This creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks and impacts upon many aspects of life including motor clumsiness, behavioural problems, anxiety, depression and school/college/university performance. Preliminary research has shown that this can affect the quality of the student experience and thereby their progression and retention. Whilst it is accepted that students with physical disabilities have specific environmental requirements and, where possible, reasonable adjustments are made, specific requirements for students with SPD are not normally considered at University. Practitioner experience in other educational contexts suggests that the physical layout of a classroom may be adapted to maximise student participation and engagement, enabling all students to benefit from a non-traditional classroom layout, but no academic research exists. The SPaCE methodology involves capture of data about the physical environment (lighting, temperature, air quality etc) simultaneously with the student experience in typical classrooms (through physical measurements, Sensory Profile questionnaires, observations, interviews and focus groups). This multi-method data set will provide us with a better understanding of conditions and how they are experienced by students, and to identify areas for improvement, to be implemented in a campus demonstrator project. The aim of the project is to provide guidelines for improved teaching provision, in terms of sensory processing issues, for dissemination within the wider education sector. This paper reports on an on-going project – the main rationale and methodology are described, with a focus on the mixed-method data collection approach and setup of the pilot study. 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 URI link.
  • Windows - options for retrofit, including slim profile double glazing
    Windows - options for retrofit, including slim profile double glazing Painter, B.; Ginks, Natasha
  • Energy retrofit interventions in historic buildings: exploring guidance and attitudes of conservation professionals to slim double glazing in the UK
    Energy retrofit interventions in historic buildings: exploring guidance and attitudes of conservation professionals to slim double glazing in the UK Painter, B.; Ginks, Natasha 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.
  • Simulation of Traditional and Contemporary Dwellings in Ghadames, Libya
    Simulation of Traditional and Contemporary Dwellings in Ghadames, Libya Alabid, Jamal; Taki, A. H.; Painter, B. A rise in temperature over summer in hot countries, such as Libya, may lead to thermal discomfort and profligate use of energy sources as a result of mitigation efforts. Buildings account for almost 45% of global energy consumption, and approximately 60% of primary energy use in Libya. The use of air conditioning systems have resulted in a sharp rise in energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Traditionally, bioclimatic design concepts have been applied and integrated into buildings in hot climates to reduce the demand of energy consumption, but increasingly less adapted designs of housings developed elsewhere are prevalent. This results in energy being excessively used in order to achieve human thermal comfort requirements. The purpose of this work is to investigate the environmental performance of naturally ventilated (NV) and air conditioned (AC) dwellings in Ghadames and the impact of bioclimatic concepts on energy use for future housing development. A range of EnergyPlus simulations were carried out to predict the indoor climate conditions and energy consumption of typical NV and AC dwellings considering different scenarios including the case of electrical power cuts. Findings revealed that traditional dwellings consume 66.1% less energy than contemporary dwellings. The thermal comfort surveys of Ghadames housing indicated that comfort temperature in NV buildings ranges between 24˚ to 32˚C and 22˚C to 26˚C in AC buildings in summer. Further findings from simulation showed that building fabric and form of traditional dwellings perform far better than contemporary dwellings in terms of solar heat gains, thermal performance of materials, land use and natural ventilation. The study concluded that consolidation of certain passive design features found in traditional dwellings of Ghadames and use of appropriate architectural design and elements can help achieve zero energy housing, taking into account local community needs and future developments.
  • Intelligent Bio-Environments: Exploring Fuzzy Logic Approaches to the Honeybee Crisis
    Intelligent Bio-Environments: Exploring Fuzzy Logic Approaches to the Honeybee Crisis Bassford, Marie; Painter, B. This paper presents an overview of how fuzzy logic can be employed to model intelligent bio-environments. It explores how non-invasive monitoring techniques, combined with sensor fusion, can be used to generate a warning signal if a critical event within the natural environment is on the horizon. The honeybee hive is presented as a specific example of an intelligent bio-environment that unfortunately, under certain indicative circumstances, can fail within the natural world. This is known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). The paper describes the design of a fuzzy logic methodology that utilizes input from non-invasive beehive monitoring systems, combining data from dedicated sensors and other disparate sources. An overview is given of two fuzzy logic approaches that are being explored in the context of the beehive; a fuzzy logic system and an Adaptive Neuro-Fuzzy Inference System (ANFIS). Project in collaboration with the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)
  • Low Cost Approach to Energy Efficient Buildings in Nigeria: A Review of Passive Design Options
    Low Cost Approach to Energy Efficient Buildings in Nigeria: A Review of Passive Design Options Ochedi, E. T.; Taki, A. H.; Painter, B. Energy consumption in buildings accounts for approximately 45% of the world’s total energy consumption, leading to a significant proportion of greenhouse gas emissions. This has led to an increasing effort towards reducing energy consumption. An example of such efforts is energy efficient buildings using passive design options. This paper assesses a low cost energy efficient strategy approach to achieving energy efficiency in buildings using passive design options in Nigeria. A critical review of various passive design options and their roles in reducing energy consumption in buildings will be conducted. This approach is necessary due to energy poverty, high energy cost, erratic power supply, over dependence on electrical generators for indoor thermal comfort and other factors. Research has shown that this method can reduce energy consumption in buildings by 40%-60% in comparison to conventional buildings. This paper shows that there is an urgent need for professionals in the building industry as well as other stakeholders to advocate passive design options in Nigeria as a viable step towards achieving high energy performance buildings. This paper concludes by emphasizing the need for Nigeria to start with a low cost energy approach to achieve energy efficient buildings in the short term while aiming for ultra-low energy buildings in the long term.
  • Control of Daylight and Natural Ventilation in Traditional Architecture of Ghadames, Libya
    Control of Daylight and Natural Ventilation in Traditional Architecture of Ghadames, Libya Alabid, Jamal; Taki, A. H.; Painter, B. Housing energy consumption accounts for almost 36% of total primary energy use in Libya of which cooling and lighting are the main source of demand. This study reviews passive control methods employed in traditional dwellings of Ghadames that highly contribute to enhance indoor thermal and visual comfort. Designing for natural ventilation and daylighting in harsh environment poses a greater challenge to building designers. Twenty one traditional dwellings were surveyed to assess building designs and performance in terms of daylight and natural ventilation interoperability. The study conducted field surveys comprising measurements of indoor/outdoor temperatures while concurrently investigating inhabitants’ thermal feeling through both direct semi-structured interviews and questionnaire. In addition, drawings were made to demonstrate the design elements and techniques used to minimize extreme outdoor temperatures and best make use of daylight. Findings indicate that skylight openings play an important role in promoting day and night ventilation. The opening’s position and size have to be carefully studied to prevent excessive direct solar heat gains and induce air movement across internal spaces. The field surveys showed that occupants were thermally satisfied in naturally ventilated dwellings having considered that fixed ceiling fan is used at late afternoon when indoor temperature starts to rise gradually. Also the use of light color roofs and walls is recommended which is approved to enhance interior lighting and increase the outdoor albedo ratio. Embedding passive design measures in traditional dwellings can be very effective and cheap in reducing the cooling and lighting demand; the impact on future housing development is also discussed.
  • Evaluation of a Mixed Method Approach for Studying User Interaction with Novel Building Control Technology
    Evaluation of a Mixed Method Approach for Studying User Interaction with Novel Building Control Technology Painter, B.; Irvine, K. N.; Kelly Waskett, R.; Mardaljevic, J. This article is published in an open access journal doi:10.3390/en9030215 links to full text are as follows HTML Version: http://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/9/3/215/html PDF Version: http://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/9/3/215/pdf
  • Comparison Study of Traditional and Contemporary Islamic Dwelling Design in Hot Climates, with Reference to Benghazi, Libya
    Comparison Study of Traditional and Contemporary Islamic Dwelling Design in Hot Climates, with Reference to Benghazi, Libya Ali, Nagah; Taki, A. H.; Painter, B. In Benghazi, Libya, the rising population and increased housing demand has led to high energy consumption in order to provide comfortable conditions. These contemporary dwellings make use of outdoor open spaces and a high glazing ratio of the building envelope, leading to significant underperformance with respect to heat gains and cooling loads when compared with more traditional dwellings. The aim of this paper is to investigate the main features of traditional Islamic houses, which can enhance environmental comfort and reveal insights when compared with contemporary houses. The methodology will consist of reviewing previous research regarding traditional Islamic houses in order to find the main climatic features, as well as a case study that will involve evaluating contemporary houses in Benghazi, Libya. Furthermore, 60 questionnaires were distributed in order to determine the main problems relating to both residents and housing design in terms of enhancing housing thermal comfort and decreasing energy consumption. The comparative study shows that the majority of traditional Islamic houses have sustainable features that can be integrated into contemporary houses in order to provide thermal comfort whilst minimising energy consumption. These features include internal open spaces (such as courtyards), and small, high openings in the external façade, together with shading devices and specific building orientation. The research likewise displays that 89% of contemporary Islamic houses in Benghazi not only lack the integration of these sustainable features as internal open spaces, but also shows that all of the local residents depend on air conditioning when facing the hot days. Additionally, the survey illustrates that just 15% of architects are responsible for designing these houses, and this has led to window designs with a high glazing ratio, and all of the windows being located in the hottest façades of the houses. The implication of the outcome with regards to sustainable designing of contemporary Islamic houses is discussed in order to help produce guidelines for designers that would respond to both the climate and to local people’s needs.
  • Development of an Intelligent Fisheye Camera
    Development of an Intelligent Fisheye Camera Bassford, Marie; Painter, B.

Click here for a full listing of Birgit Painter's publications and outputs. 

Research interests/expertise

Building performance assessment - multidisciplinary work in environmental science, including:

  • Sustainable buildings - energy efficient design and operation.
  • Smart built environment (Smart Cities, BIM).
  • Building performance analysis, post-occupancy evaluation of environmental and human factors.
  • Visual and thermal comfort studies.
  • Air quality monitoring and analysis.
  • Longitudinal post-occupancy studies.

Areas of teaching

Sustainable built environment, Energy in buildings, Passive building design

Qualifications

PhD – De Montfort University

Dipl.-Ing. (FH) – University of Applied Sciences, Lübeck, Germany

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCertHE) - De Montfort University

Membership of professional associations and societies

MCIBSE - Member of the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers

FHEA - Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Affiliate Member of the Society of Light and Lighting (SLL)

Consultancy work

EC-glazing – A retrofit case study (the VIEW project), Clephan Building DMU, ongoing, supported by SAGE Glass and Saint Gobain.

Current research students

Nagah Ali, PhD, Full time, 2ndsupervisor

Shafiaa Alghamdi, PhD, Full time, 2ndsupervisor

Nittalin Phunapai, PhD, Full time, 2ndsupervisor

Externally funded research grants information

Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Fellowship ‘Integrated building performance’, 2017-18

Quantifying Visual Discomfort in the Daylit Workplace using a High Dynamic Range (HDR) Imaging Approach, EPSRC, 2007-2010, First grant (Principal investigator), EP/E027148/1, £183,000.

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