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Dr Birgit Painter

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

T: +44 (0)116 257 7957

E: bpainter@dmu.ac.uk

W: 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

  • Parametric optimization of daylight, thermal and energy performance of middle school classrooms, case of hot and dry regions
    Parametric optimization of daylight, thermal and energy performance of middle school classrooms, case of hot and dry regions Painter, B.; Lakhdari, Khaoula; Sriti, Leila In school buildings, especially learning spaces, good daylight and thermal conditions are important to promote the educational process, as unsatisfactory comfort levels can reduce physical and intellectual performance for both teachers and pupils. However, achieving successful classroom designs is rather complicated, as it requires the balancing of various interrelated factors, which is particularly challenging for hot and dry climates. In recent years, major improvements have been made in building optimization methods, and genetic algorithms used to search for high performing design solutions have shown their efficiency in solving such complex problems. This study shows how such an approach can be applied to optimize the thermal, lighting and energy performance of a middle school classroom in a hot and dry climate. Using a parametric approach and evolutionary multi-objective computation via Octopus plug-in for Grasshopper, various windows-to-wall ratios, wall materials, glass types, and shading devices were combined, to derive potential solutions that achieve a good balance between daylight provision and thermal comfort, while ensuring low energy consumption. The results show that improvements in useful daylight illuminance, adaptive thermal comfort and energy efficiency could be achieved through modification of building envelope parameters. Solutions for different building orientations are explored, providing recommendations for window-to-wall ratios in school buildings in a hot and dry climate. The results demonstrate how an optimization methodology can be used in the early stages of the building design process to understand how the building envelope can be tailored to ensure good building performance, both in terms of comfort and energy performance. 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.
  • Integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into Urban Climate Plans in the UK and Japan: A text analysis
    Integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into Urban Climate Plans in the UK and Japan: A text analysis Ozawa-Meida, Leticia; Ortiz-Moya, Fernando; Painter, B.; Hengesbaugh, Matthew; Nakano, Ryoko; Yoshida, Tetsuro; Zusman, Eric; Bhattacharyya, Subhes Cities are increasingly adopting potentially sustainable climate plans. Integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into these plans could help stabilize the climate while generating jobs, narrowing equity gaps, fostering innovation, and delivering other sustainability benefits. Yet, how much cities are integrating the SDGs into climate plans remains poorly understood. This article shed light on this question with a text analysis of SDG “keywords” in climate plans for two British and two Japanese cities. The results revealed that none of the surveyed cities have connected climate with socioeconomic priorities covered in SDG1 (poverty), SDG8 (employment), SDG5 (gender), and SDG10 (inequalities). Meanwhile, the United Kingdom cities made more connections between climate and responsible consumption and production (SDG12) than the Japanese cities. Further, Kyoto, Japan shares a climate-SDGs linkages profile that resembles the United Kingdom cities more than Kawasaki. Though not without limitations, text analysis can facilitate the city-to-city peer learning needed to make urban climate plans sustainable within and across countries. open access article
  • Analysing climate action plans of selected UK cities for their SDG alignment
    Analysing climate action plans of selected UK cities for their SDG alignment Ozawa-Meida, Leticia; Painter, B.; Bhattacharyya, Subhes In UK, the Climate change Act of 2008 has placed a binding target of reducing the net carbon emission in 2050 by at least 80% compared to the 1990 baseline. With a high share of urban population, the contribution of cities and urban areas towards climate change mitigation and adaptation becomes crucial. UK being a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in 2016, there is a new emphasis on the sustainability of cities as well. In this paper, a preliminary analysis of climate action initiatives of three UK cities (Bristol, Leicester and Milton Keynes) and their alignment with the SDG is presented. We used a text mining approach to analyse the climate action plans and then use this to map the alignment with the SDGs. We find that climate action plans have not focused on the sustainable development goals or the SDGs and their focus remains limited mainly to mitigation activities through promotion of renewable energies at homes and in buildings and actions on transport. However, climate action plans could influence a significant number of SDGs and an integrated approach could be beneficial for the cities and their residents.
  • Case study: Naturally ventilated building in a city centre
    Case study: Naturally ventilated building in a city centre Painter, B.; Cook, M. J. The Frederick Lanchester Library at Coventry University opened in September 2000 and is one of the largest naturally ventilated buildings in the world. The deep-plan layout and its urban location, close to the city centre of Coventry, made the design of a low energy building without air conditioning and with maximum daylight provision particularly challenging. Both the library and the estates staff are well aware that naturally ventilated buildings require different maintenance procedures to traditional, mechanically ventilated buildings. The library has also demonstrated that it is possible to co-locate areas which are to be occupied for longer periods of time, especially into the evenings and night, within a naturally ventilated building by keeping them separately accessed and controlled. Since overheating in summer is one of the potential problems associated with naturally ventilated buildings, particular attention was given to the effect of the night time cooling on internal temperatures during periods with high ambient temperatures.
  • 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.

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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