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Research interests

David Coley is Professor of Low Carbon Design and head of the Energy and the Design of Environments research centre. His research focuses on minimising the energy use of buildings through a process of physical design and an understanding of occupant behaviour. He is also interested in citywide energy modelling.

David Coley received a BSc in Physics in 1985 and a PhD in theoretical nuclear physics in 1989 (both from Surrey University). During this time he also worked briefly for the UK Atomic Energy Authority. He joined the Centre for Energy and the Environment at Exeter University in 1998, where he worked until joining Bath as Professor of Low Carbon Design in 2011. Whilst at Exeter, his main interests were in low energy design (including Passivhaus), renewables, estimating the impact of climate change on the built environment and evolutionary computation. He was also a founding member of a London based hedge fund.


David's main research interests are finding out why buildings use energy, how little they could use and where this energy might come from. In essence, this means teasing out whether the issue for the mass production of low carbon buildings is the building or the occupant.

He is a committee member of various national bodies on the built environment and on the editorial board of three journals.

Recent EPSRC projects include the production of future weather files to 2080 (PROMETHEUS) and advanced smart metering (ENLITEN), and the post occupancy elevation of buildings for TSB.

Alongside academic papers and reports for Government, David has written books on energy and climate change, genetic algorithms and rock climbing.

Willing to supervise PhD

Interested in supervising students studying:

  • Energy use in buildings
  • Passivhaus
  • Low energy/carbon design
  • Climate change
  • Post occupancy evaluation of buildings 

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where David Coley is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2012 2022

Research Output 2008 2019

Current and future test reference years at a 5 km resolution

Liu, C., Chung, W., Cecinati, F., Natarajan, S. & Coley, D., 8 Oct 2019, In : Building Services Engineering Research and Technology.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Impact of sustainable building design on occupant experience: a human-centred approach

Darby, A., Natarajan, S., Coley, D., Maskell, D., Walker, I. & Brownjohn, J., 4 Apr 2019, (Accepted/In press) Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Sustainable Construction Materials and Technologies . The International Committee of the SCMT Conferences, (Sustainable Construction Materials and Technologies).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Mining Social Media to Identify Heat Waves

Cecinati, F., Matthews, T., Natarajan, S., McCullen, N. & Coley, D., 2 Mar 2019, In : International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 16, 5

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Infrared Rays
Social Media


Dataset for "Mitigation versus adaptation: Does insulating buildings increase overheating risk?"

Fosas de Pando, D. (Creator), Coley, D. (Creator), Natarajan, S. (Creator), Herrera, M. (Creator), Fosas de Pando, M. (Creator), Ramallo Gonzalez, A. (Creator), University of Bath, 26 Jul 2018


Data for 'Toward healthy housing for the displaced'

Albadra, D. (Creator), Coley, D. (Creator), Hart, J. (Creator), University of Bath, 11 Jan 2018


Dataset for "Healthy Architecture: promoting physical activity through building design"

Marsh, A. (Creator), Chaliasou, A. (Creator), Cortes Paez, E. C. (Creator), Deering, N. (Creator), Gleed, F. (Creator), Gunawardena, K. (Creator), Hawkins, W. (Creator), Hughes, C. (Creator), Hussain, A. (Creator), University of Bath, 2017


ENLITEN - A dataset and its associated analysis code for the paper entitled "Designing sensor sets for capturing energy events in buildings"

Lee, J. (Creator), Thomas, E. (Creator), Lovett, T. (Creator), Padget, J. (Creator), Natarajan, S. (Creator), Coley, D. (Creator), University of Bath, 26 Jul 2016



Characterizing the relationship between energy and urban form using data, scaling and combined metrics

Author: Osorio, B. M., 3 Nov 2017

Supervisor: McCullen, N. (Supervisor), Walker, I. (Supervisor) & Coley, D. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Creation of Hot Summer Years and Evaluation of Overheating Risk at a High Spatial Resolution under a Changing Climate

Author: Liu, C., 3 Nov 2017

Supervisor: Coley, D. (Supervisor), Kershaw, T. (Supervisor) & Natarajan, S. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Low-Energy Domestic Architecture: The Impact Of Household Behaviour On The Expected Energy Use Of Passive House Dwellings

Author: Blight, T., 16 Sep 2015

Supervisor: Coley, D. (Supervisor) & Smith, J. (External person) (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD