Figure 1. The RCUK Centre for Energy Epidemiology Process
UCL-Energy has focused the RCUK end-use energy demand centre on an energy epidemiological approach that looks to re-interpret the health sciences research structure in order to form a robust research and analysis framework from which to address the pressing issues surrounding end-use energy demand.
Energy Epidemiology is the systematic use of measured data to illuminate the causes of energy use and of changes in energy use.
The individual research challenges that this centre will address are:
1. The lack of access to good quality, high resolution, energy data, of the statistical quality that most other disciplines would consider a pre-requisite for the pursuit of good science and robust conclusions.
2.The limited capacity to analyse, organise or archive data, despite significant sums of money invested to collect data through individual projects. No basis for systematic reviews of research findings, and little basis for project-by-project learning, have resulted in limited impact of data on the policy process.
3. The lack of established analytical methods for testing hypotheses the space defined by the joint probability distribution over physical, socio-economic and behavioural variables.
4.The need to provide results both more quickly, and with more accuracy and precision than has been the case historically – because of the pressing need to meet steeply falling CO2 budgets.
5. The need to support multi-disciplinary activity in a complex area: historically, most UK energy research has been undertaken by small, transient teams of researchers. Breaking this historic model requires a sustained, concerted effort, focused on data and associated methods.
6.Poor linkage between theory and practice. Poor access to data makes it difficult to establish and maintain benchmarks for performance or to ground models. Practitioners have been left without usable guidelines, and policymakers without the tools to devise and evaluate policy.