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

EFTEC Evidence Assessment

Project Director: Dr Tony Gore
Project Duration: 2012-2013

This study involves a review and assessment of evidence on the extent to which green infrastructure improvement acts as a catalyst for economic growth. The results from this review will feed into green infrastructure policy for economic growth in the UK and will advise on further work in this area. This project was a joint venture with eftec.

User perspectives in low energy housing

Project Director: Aimee Ambrose
Project Duration: 2012-2013

The project ran from March 2012 to March 2013 and used video to capture the realities of living in an eco-home.  Through three case studies of recent low energy housing developments located in Nottingham, Rotherham and Manchester/Salford we worked with residents to understand the benefits, pitfalls and daily challenges of living in a low energy home. We wanted residents to be able to tell their own story about low energy life in their own words and allowed them to guide the researchers and film crew around their homes explaining things like why they lived there, where they had lived in the past and how their current home compared to previous properties, what they liked about their home and what they found more challenging. Watch the three videos to find out what residents thought of their homes. A short summary video is also available which pulls together key insights from across the three films.

Preparing for Green Deal

Project Director: Jan Gilbertson
Project Duration: 2012-2013

Responsibility for improving energy efficiency levels in the private rented sector lies largely with private landlords. The recent introduction of the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which runs alongside the Green Deal, are designed to support the take-up of energy efficient home improvements and are now the main vehicles, other than self-finance, by which private landlords can improve the thermal efficiency of their properties. 

Village SOS Evaluation

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2011-2012

Village SOS was a programme of the Big Lottery Fund undertaken in partnership with BBC ONE. The programme aimed to provide a new model for the revitalisation of disadvantaged rural communities in the United Kingdom. The programme supported the funding of 10 village schemes across the UK, the deployment of a 'village champion' to work with these villages over 12 months, and for six of the schemes to feature in a BBC ONE television series.

EDF Evaluation

Project Director: Jan Gilbertson
Project Duration: 2011-2012

The main aim of the research was to provide evidence and learning which would support EDFET trustees to meet their operational objectives for 2011 and which would help the trustees and EDF Energy shape the future direction of the Trust in meeting its overall aims.

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
Furness Enterprise Ltd
Government Office for Science (BIS)
Groundwork UK
Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Labour Party
Lambeth Council
Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership
Local authorities
Local enterprise partnerships
Royal College of General Practitioners
Small Business Service
The Higher Education Innovation Fund
United Utilities
Welsh Assembly Government
White Rose Collaboration Fund project
Wigan Council
Wigan Council
Zero Carbon Yorkshire
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