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

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.

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.

Walking with Energy: overcoming energy invisibility through research participation

Project Director: Aimee Ambrose / Project Manager: Stephen Parkes

Project Duration: 2019-2021

The Walking with Energy project brings together oral history techniques, walking interviews and novel psychological tests to offer a highly innovative, creative and low cost method of engaging the public in debates and decisions regarding energy production and consumption.

Parks for People programme evaluation

Project Director: Dr Will Eadson
Project Duration: 2019 - 2020

This project examines the social and economic impact of investment in parks on people and places. There are two phases to the research. The first phase involves a rapid evidence review of existing academic literature on the social and economic value of parks in relation to government policy goals. The second phase involves in-depth case studies of parks that received funding through the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Parks for People programme to better understand the different potential impacts of parks investment on people and places.

Research into the early construction messages emerging from the Innovative Housing Programme

Project Director: Dr Aimee Ambrose
Project Duration: 2020

The Welsh Government have, since 2018, run the Innovative Housing Programme which is intended to stimulate innovative approaches to the provision of high performing, affordable housing in Wales. This research will identify the key learning points, with regard to planning and construction, to emerge from the first year of the programme. The research team will work with developers and their contractors to help identify this key learning which will help to shape the future of the IHP and the future of housing provision in Wales more broadly.

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
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
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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