A 3DStock model of part of Bloomsbury in London, centred on University College Hospital. The colours code for Energy Performance Certificate grades
A 3DStock model of part of Bloomsbury in London, centred on University College Hospital. The colours code for Energy Performance Certificate grades

This is a long-term project on modelling building stocks and their use of energy, supported by a series of grants from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), most recently the multi-university Centre for Research in Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS). The work has been carried out by Stephen Evans, Rob Liddiard, Daniel Godoy-Shimizu and myself.

3DStock is a method for constructing digital models all buildings – domestic, non-domestic and mixed-use – in a locality, in three dimensions and located geographically. The primary purpose is the analysis of energy performance, but there are many other potential applications. Models have been built to date of the whole of Greater London, and the towns and cities of Leicester, Swindon, Tamworth and Milton Keynes. Data are available for extending the modelling to England and Wales.

The models are assembled automatically from Ordnance Survey digital maps, commercial rating data from the Valuation Office agency (VOA), LiDAR data (laser measurements made by overflying aircraft) from the Environment Agency, and several other sources. Activities are recorded in detail, floor by floor and in many instances down to the room level. Special attention is devoted to the complex relationships between premises and buildings. Floor areas are given by the VOA data, or are otherwise estimated from the external geometry of buildings. Actual metered energy data are attached at the premises/ building level where these are available, as in Display Energy Certificates; or aggregated to postcodes, LSOs or larger areal units. Energy Performance Certificates are also attached to premises and buildings. Geometry and activity data can be passed from 3DStock to a second model, SimStock, with which energy performance can be estimated using dynamic simulation, for large populations of buildings.

3DStock has been used to date in a series of consultancies to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (previously the Department of Energy and Climate Change), including the evaluation of several government energy efficiency programmes, and studies of the potential uptake of building-based renewable energy technologies in connection with setting the Fifth Carbon Budget. Our team are working in 2023 for the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero on a model of all buildings in England, Wales and Scotland. This will be used by the Department for setting policy on decarbonisation of the stock.

3DStock has also been used in a number of scientific studies of the relation of energy use to density and built form, including a project funded by EPSRC: ‘High-Rise Buildings: Energy and Density’, an investigation of the relationship between height and energy use in office buildings (described in a separate item).