Tackling the challenges low-carbon living


Our work on sustainability is wide-ranging. We seek to understand the dynamics of responses to climate change, and routinely collaborate with industry-leading consultants and leading academics to address the complex needs of our client organisations.

We conduct research around the following themes.

Housing and the home

We have conducted leading UK studies into fuel poverty and the response of government bodies to this issue. Our work has included evaluations of the Warm Front Scheme and Decent Homes programmes.

We bring together technical expertise – working with our partners in the Materials and Engineering Research Institute – to address fuel poverty with a detailed understanding of behavioural responses to housing improvements. We are currently exploring the experiences of residents living in eco-homes.


Our research shows the importance of place-based approaches to sustainability, and helps organisations to evaluate their practical responses.

Our work includes studies on district heat networks, neighbourhood level housing improvements and the mainstreaming of sustainability in economic development programmes.

Coordinating responses to climate change

We have shown the challenges faced by local, regional and national organisations in coordinating responses to climate change.

Our work includes studies into the use of sustainability as cross-cutting themes in EU programmes, through to the role of environmental partnerships at local and regional levels.

Valuation of environmental benefits

We have undertaken research for organisations such as DEFRA and Groundwork into the valuation of environmental benefits and the economic benefits from environmental improvements.

Search our work

Green Leaders evaluation

Project Director: Dr Will Eadson
Project Duration: 2016-2018

Groundwork’s Green Leaders programme aims to give 900 disadvantaged young people (aged 14-19) a stepping stone to future employment by recruiting them to lead local environmental projects. In doing so, the programme also aims to make local environmental improvements and catalyse climate action in local communities. The evaluation involves tracking outcomes through a range of qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as providing learning to projects throughout the duration of the programme

ESRC Seminar Series: The health impact of cold homes and fuel poverty

Principal Applicant: Professor Angela Tod / Co-applicants: Jan Gilbertson, Professor Christine Liddell, Catherine Homer

Project Duration: 2015-2018

This seminar series will generate new understanding of human behaviour regarding cold homes, fuel poverty and their impact on health by reviewing current evidence, identifying evidence gaps and priorities for future research. The series will explicitly consider the influence of social and health inequalities, and focus on policy influences, impact and interventions. It will add to existing academic knowledge by reviewing and synthesising existing evidence, and will identify gaps in knowledge.

Wigan Deal for Warmth Evaluation

Project Director: Aimee Ambrose
Project Duration: 2015-2017

An evaluation of the Wigan Deal for Warmth programme which is part of DECC’s Health and Fuel Poverty Booster Fund, which aims to address health and wellbeing issues linked to cold, inefficient homes by intervening to improve energy efficiency.

Royal College of General Practitioners Fuel Poverty Pilot evaluation

Project Director: Dr Will Eadson
Project Duration: 2016

This project is assessing  the success of a project piloting a new GP referral mechanism for support services providing fuel poverty interventions (energy efficiency measures, energy advice, income maximisation and so on). The evaluation will use project monitoring data alongside qualitative interviews with participants, GPs, Integrated Care Teams and referral services to understand the impact of programme as well as the effectiveness of the referral mechanism.

Energy efficiency in the private rented sector: what tenants really think

Project Director: Aimee Ambrose
Project Duration: 2015-2016

Previous research in the UK has established that private landlords think that energy efficiency is not important to their tenants. This project will use a combination of short postal surveys and in-depth qualitative interviews with tenants of low value private rented properties in two case study locations (Hackney and Rotherham) to test this assumption. The project will also establish the likelihood that tenants will use the provisions of forthcoming legislation under the Energy Act to request energy efficiency improvements from their landlords and whether they would be willing to pay more in rent for a more energy efficient property (landlords assume they would not). By better understanding tenants' perspectives on energy efficiency, clarifying their needs, expectations and competing priorities it is hoped that this project will contribute to the development of better informed approaches to driving up standards of energy performance at the lower end of the Private Rented Sector.

Get in touch

For further information please contact Aimee Ambrose at a.ambrose@shu.ac.uk or call 0114 225 6297.

Key clients

Amber Valley Borough Council
Birmingham City Council
Business and trade associations
Consumer Council for Water
Consumer Council for Water
Department for Communities and Local Government
Department for Work and Pensions
Derby City Council
Derbyshire County Council
Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
Durham County Council
Eaga Charitable Trust
East Riding of Yorkshire Council
Furness Enterprise Ltd
Government Office for Science (BIS)
Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Lambeth Council
Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership
Local authorities
Local enterprise partnerships
Royal College of General Practitioners
Small Business Service
Welsh Assembly Government
Wigan Council
Wigan Council
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