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Brian Coffey

Brian Coffey

Brian Coffey, UCL Energy Institute

Principle Research Associate in Simulation and Building Stock Modelling

Brian Coffey studied in the Arts and Sciences Programme at McMaster University, Canada (1997-2003), which included a thesis on the social and technical history of the hydrogen fuel cell. He then studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Victoria, Canada (2002-2005), worked in energy efficiency research at Public Works and Government Services Canada (2004-2006), and graduated as a Master of Building Engineering from Concordia University, Canada (2005-2008), with a particular focus on the use of building energy simulation and optimization techniques for energy-efficient design and control of dynamic building systems. He then worked at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and studied Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley (2007-2011), with a major in building science, and minors in control theory and operations research. His research at LBNL during this time included a variety of research in building simulation and the analysis of energy use in individual buildings and building stocks, and he developed an innovative technique for deriving near-optimal control rules for building systems, which became the basis of his PhD dissertation (completed 2011). He has worked as an Environmental Designer at Atelier Ten (2010-2012), as an independent consultant (2012-2013) and as a Principal Scientific Engineering Associate at LBNL (2013-2014). He joined the UCL Energy Institute in March 2014.

Research Summary

Brian Coffey works primarily on energy efficiency in buildings with particular emphasis on the various uses of building simulation in the process of identifying and implementing improvements to building design and operations. His previous research and consulting work has ranged in scale from national building stocks to HVAC control details and daylight distribution renderings, addressing problems such as building-sector energy demand projections, campus cooling system optimization, cogeneration dispatch strategies, and integrated control optimization of shading and radiant cooling. Much of his recent work has involved developing methods and tools to make the new technologies of cloud computing, microcomputing, and modern scripting languages and libraries accessible and useful for energy efficiency researchers and practitioners. His work at UCL focuses on the development of a simulation-based model of the UK non-domestic building stock, starting with Camden as a case study. In particular, an innovative approach being used wherein models are automatically generated for every building (or, more exactly, every self-contained unit of premises) in the stock, along with statistical techniques to project changes in the stock under different regulatory and technological scenarios, and epidemiological techniques to sample and analyze the changes over time. This approach is being experimentally compared with the more standard approach of developing building archetypes and attributing segments of the stock to each of them.