Research Themes

City of Leicester

The 4M research is divided into the following research themes


Building Energy

School of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University

The Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University

4M: Domestic/non-domestic buildings

An investigation of building energy use, carbon emissions and the contribution to the urban carbon footprint

This theme is researching the energy use and carbon emissions from domestic and non-domestic buildings at the city scale. This work will lead to improved datasets of building energy use and enhanced models for use in policy development and scenario planning.

The key measurement tool for domestic buildings is a face-to-face survey of around 500 households. This will provide the raw data for determining each households carbon emissions and for exploring the impact of targeted interventions. The survey will gather detailed data on household composition, socio-economic status, building form and fabric, the presence of energy consuming appliances and socio-economic status. Householders will also be asked for electricity and gas meter readings and sensors will be placed in the homes to record living room and bedroom temperatures for several months.

A city wide energy model for dwellings will be developed using the survey findings and secondary datasets. The survey data will be used to improve current individual household energy models and the measured internal temperatures and meter readings used for initial validation. The city wide model will employ several secondary datasets including: GIS derived data of the housing stock in Leicester such as building footprint, exposed perimeter and orientation; Census data at various spatial scales from output area to unitary authority; BERR regional energy statistics; up-to-date results of the English Housing Survey; and local climate data. The results will be mapped in a GIS framework and the management of the carbon emissions within the Leicester housing stock will be explored using scenario analysis.


Transport Systems

Transport Operations Research Group, Newcastle University

4M: Transport

An investigation for understanding (through travel survey) and shrinking (through strategic modelling) the modal transport (road and rail) contributions to the urban carbon footprint for Leicester

This theme is looking into the current household commuting patterns of Leicester residents for school trips, work and shopping (leisure) in order to formulate strategic travel options that can be implemented to reduce their urban carbon footprints along the lines of the 2050 target. The tasks for this theme are spread over the four phases of 4M as follows:

Measurement: Newcastle University is developing a prototype of The Green Travelometer based on an online survey, which will be conducted in co-operation with schools, higher education, workplaces and individuals. This is going to provide researchers the essential information on the distance and mode of regular, frequent trips and to inform the user how much CO2, CO, NOx and particulates their journeys create. The information database generated from the travel surveys will be utilised to develop strategic solutions in the later part of this project.

Modelling: The city-wide CO2 emission from land transport (road and rail) for the Leicester conurbation is being modelled using RoadEmit (an integral part of the suite of models, TEMMS). RoadEmit incorporates emission factors recommended by the UK Emission Factor Database, and EU CORINAIR and MEET programmes. In order to reflect real-world and congested emissions the RoadEmit predictions is being adequately enhanced using micro simulation modelling of the road networks for Leicester.

Mapping: Alongside the parallel themes in 4M, this phase will involve development of a GIS-based carbon map for the city of Leicester. The transport carbon mapping for baseline case (2005) and predicted scenarios is based on an operational modelling tool in liaison with the Leicester City Council. This incorporates the emission factors for major modes of land transport (road and rail) from the most recent published data. It is noteworthy here that aerial emissions from flight paths over the city boundary are not included in this mapping study.

Management: The outputs from Travel Survey analysis and modelling work will be utilised to devise and assess the implementation of different management scenarios for plausible emission cuts from modal and behavioural shifts. These include options of interest to the City of Leicester: park and ride, green fleets, lower emission zones, road user charging; incentives to use public transport and work-based travel plans and others such as promoting cycling and walking.


Biological Sequestration

The Biodiversity and Macroecology Group (BIOME), the University of Sheffield

4M: Green space in Leicester

Quantifying the urban soil and vegetation carbon pools within the city of Leicester

This 4M research theme is set to explore the role that urban soil and vegetation play in storing carbon. Although these biological carbon "pools" may be small relative to the carbon emitted as a result of energy use, they may potentially contribute to fulfilling government targets for reducing net emissions.

Indeed, just over half of the land area of Leicester is covered in some form of green space, including parks, wooded areas, recreation grounds and domestic gardens. Our first task will be to measure the carbon stored within the soil and vegetation in each of these different types of urban green space. In turn, this will allow us to produce a city-wide map showing where the carbon pools are located. Once we have established how carbon varies across the green spaces and investigated the impact of alternative management practices on the urban carbon pools, we can then produce recommendations that will help Leicester "lock away" more of its carbon.


Integration and Representation

The Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University

This package has the critical function of enabling the four main research themes to be integrated so that their varying spatio-temporal features can be mapped in the 4M CF GIS-system, which can then be used to represent the impact of the various scenarios modelled on the Carbon Footprint.