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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Stephen Allen is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, and Associate Director of the Institute for Sustainability.  His research focuses on embedding sustainability in design and engineering, particularly through use of life cycle assessment.  This is essential for achieving net-zero carbon emissions and effectively tackling climate change.  Stephen collaborates with scientists, engineers, designers and a variety of companies. Current projects include:

Stephen’s PhD and post-doctoral research (2006-09) predicted the net energy and carbon performance of renewable energy technologies, including how long it takes to payback their embodied carbon.  In 2010-12 he was the Energy Adviser at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. He provided scientific advice to inform public policy, and specialist input to select committee inquiries.  In 2012-18 he was a senior associate at Sustain Ltd (now Anthesis) and then director at Circular Ecology. He led projects for companies with combined turnovers of greater than £10bn, helping them to measure and reduce their environmental footprint. Prior to 2006, Stephen worked as an engineer in remote parts of Canada and Mexico, designing and building equipment and accommodation for ecological field research.

His publications have been used by parliament, government and the Committee on Climate Change to inform policy, and by professional magazines to influence practice in industry.  He won the prestigious George Stephenson Prize from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (for best original paper), and a place on the USA’s International Visitor Leadership Programme on climate change and renewable energy.  He has featured on the BBC’s ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ and written a regular column on sustainability for a magazine.  He is conversationally fluent in Spanish.

Willing to supervise doctoral students

Interested in supervising students studying:

  • Low energy and low carbon design of buildings
  • Sustainable building materials
  • Sustainable energy technologies
  • Carbon footprinting
  • Life cycle assessment

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Expert member of Committee on Life Cycle Assessment, British Standards Institute

2021 → …

Member of Engineering EC Forum, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council


Director, Circular Ecology Ltd.


Senior Associate, Sustain Ltd


Scientific Adviser - Energy, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology


Research Officer, SUPERGEN Highly Distributed Power Systems, University of Bath


Engineer (Canada and Mexico), Coastal Ecosystems Research Foundation



  • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
  • TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
  • Sustainable energy
  • Renewable energy
  • Thermodynamics
  • Heat transfer
  • Carbon footprinting
  • Energy analysis
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Embodied energy and carbon
  • Building performance analysis


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