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

Understanding and Effectively Engaging Hard to Reach Energy Users

Project Director: Professor Aimee Ambrose
Project Dates: 2018-2022

Energy efficiency (EE) programme administrators and policy makers have long encouraged the adoption of efficient technologies and conservation practices across customers and end-use sectors. Energy users who haven’t yet participated in, or targeted for efficiency and conservation programmes despite ongoing outreach, are often referred to as ‘Hard-to-Reach’ (HTR), or ‘underserved’.

Future Parks Accelerator programme evaluation

Project Director: Dr. Will Eadson
Project Duration: 2019 - 2021

The Future Parks Accelerator programme aims to create a step-change in park management, funding and value through innovation, collation and dissemination of ‘best in class’ practices, adapting ‘what works’ from other sectors and blending for parks. The evaluation will: examine different emerging models for parks funding and management; the processes involved in doing so; and the impacts of the different approaches taken by the nine funded projects. Empirical material is being gathered through in-depth cases studies of funded projects, using participatory methods to ensure that projects and their stakeholders play a meaningful part in the evaluation process. The evaluation will focus on sharing learning throughout the course of the project, through learning events, blogs and insight reports.

Understanding and engaging with high consuming households: energy, transport, food

Project Director: Professor Aimee Ambrose
Project Duration: 2020-2021

The High Consumers project is focused on a poorly understood and under researched group of households - those households that consume energy, food and transport in large quantities relative to average households. The project aims are to consider the existing evidence in relation to high consumers and to plan an international research collaboration seeking to explore, through qualitative and quantitative methods, the extent and nature of this group.

Room to Move – Impacts of road-space reallocation (REMODEL)

Project Director: Dr Stephen Parkes
Project Duration: 2020-2021

Sheffield City Council (SCC) and Lancashire County Council (LCC) are currently implementing road-space reallocation measures to facilitate social distancing and increase levels of active travel in the post-lockdown landscape. The adaptations address road-space capacity issues for non-vehicle users along key commuter routes. These measures are an important element of the creation of a ‘climate-smart’ recovery and support the longer-term goal of de-carbonising transport.

Understanding supply chain, employment and skills implications of energy infrastructure investment

Project Director: Dr Will Eadson
Project Duration: 2020-21

Not enough is known about the detailed supply chain, employment and skills implications of investing in urban low carbon energy infrastructure. In particular, there is a need to better understand the nature and geography of jobs in low carbon energy sectors, and how employment and skills support can ensure that those who most need work can access new opportunities.

Staff undertaking research include

Aimee Ambrose Jan Gilbertson Dr Will Eadson Dr Tony Gore

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
Community Energy England
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
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (DecarboN8 Network)
Furness Enterprise Ltd
Government Office for Science (BIS)
Groundwork UK
Hard-to-Reach Energy Users
Health Foundation
Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Labour Party
Lambeth Council
Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership
Local authorities
Local enterprise partnerships
National Lottery Community Fund
National Lottery Heritage Fund
National Trust
Regional Studies Association
Royal College of General Practitioners
Small Business Service
Swedish Energy Agency
The Higher Education Innovation Fund
The International Energy Agency (IEA) Technology Collaboration Programme
United Utilities
Welsh Assembly Government
West Yorkshire Combined Authority
White Rose Collaboration Fund project
Wigan Council
Wigan Council
Zero Carbon Yorkshire
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