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IES and Heriot-Watt University ETP STEP Scheme Project

By Suzanne Wallace on Tuesday 20 November 2018

This summer, Melanie Gines, an IES intern and also student researcher at Heriot-Watt University, successfully ran a joint project between IES and the university to analyse the implications and value of the calibration process of building energy models (BEMs). The project was facilitated and funded by the Energy Technology Partnership (ETP), under the Student Engagement Project (STEP) scheme.

The Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) is an autonomous alliance of 13 independent Scottish Universities providing world-class capability and resources in low carbon energy RD&D, supported and co-funded by the Scottish Funding Council. It creates value for the Scottish economy by acting as a broker between academia and external organisations and industry, promoting and disseminating ETP’s mission to translate excellent research into economic impact.

Melanie embarked on the project following advice from her lecturer at Heriot-Watt University, recognising that it would allow her to further develop her research skills and commercial experience, and bring value to the organisations involved, as well as positively boosting her career prospects. 

The project took place between June and September 2018, with Melanie co-locating her study between the university and IES. Melanie’s lecturer described the resulting report as “a high-quality, rigorous piece of work which effectively meets the stated aims of the project.” 



The research has direct benefits for both IES and Heriot-Watt.

Alex Maclaren, Associate Professor (Architecture) & Senior Director of Studies for Architectural Engineering at Heriot-Watt said, “The research provides a valuable contribution to our understanding of model calibration. This remains an essential part of our understanding of modelling energy use in buildings, and our efforts to close the ‘performance gap’. The ETP-funded research project has achieved the stated aims of the project and also effectively catalysed a growing relationship between the Industry and University partners. The student has worked extremely effectively and the quality of the work is to be congratulated.” 

Whilst IES’ Head of Research for Europe, Valeria Ferrando said, “The research carried out during the project will have a very positive impact for IES as it will allow us to optimise the existing calibration procedure of the company and implement as part of our consultancy services worldwide, minimising internal costs. It will also improve the existing software used for the calibration process for increased productivity and allow us to expand our consultancy services to larger projects around the world.”

Another benefit is that, as a result of this collaboration, Don McLean, the Managing Director of IES has been in discussion with Heriot-Watt University about helping the University manage its global portfolio of buildings as well as using the IES software in a “living lab” for students.

In response to how the project has benefitted her development, Melanie said, “This project has been very enriching for my career as it allowed me to combine industry practice and research. It was a real pleasure to work with a leading company in the Low Carbon sector.”

To find out more about the research project you can read Melanie’s full report and view her final presentation slides.