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Ljubomir Jankovic

Biography

Professor Jankovic conducts multidisciplinary research in the field of zero carbon design of buildings, and has established a research group called Zero Carbon Lab. He is Programme Director for Masters Course on Zero Carbon Architecture and Retrofit Design. 

He has worked as an academic, researcher and practitioner on instrumental monitoring, dynamic simulation and environmental design of buildings over a career spanning three decades.

He joined Birmingham City University's School of Architecture in 1989 and is a member of the Centre for Low Carbon Research, which co-ordinates research across a range of disciplines, faculties and external partners, and the Centre for Design and Creative Industries, a well-established, interdisciplinary research centre that encompasses a broad range of creative design practices, innovation and external engagement.

His work includes the creation of a learning simulation model for buildings, a patent for an expandable and contractible building, research into nature's zero carbon designs and research into zero carbon retrofit of buildings.

His book 'Designing Zero Carbon Buildings Using Dynamic Simulation Methods' has been adopted as core text at several UK, US and European universities and has been used as a handbook by major international consultancies, such as Arup.

Part of his research was based on the work done to evaluate the Birmingham Zero Carbon House, a ground-breaking carbon-neutral building based on a 170-year-old redbrick Victorian house. This research showed how best to convert existing buildings into zero carbon homes of the future, and how home owners could eliminate energy bills and fuel poverty, and potentially achieve a significant return on investment.

He had a total of £7.4 million of research grant funding over the past decade, with current £1.1 million funded programme on Scaling up retrofit of the nation's homes from Innovate UK.

Current Activity

Zero Carbon Lab

Professor Jankovic has established a multidisciplinary group at the University called Zero Carbon Lab that conducts research into design of new and retrofit of existing buildings into zero carbon buildings and develops champions of change from carbon-intensive to carbon-neutral architecture and designers for the future world.

Research interests and expertise

Monitoring and experimentation with the Birmingham zero carbon house

The Birmingham Zero Carbon House is a retrofitted Victorian house that has achieved carbon negative performance. The house has been extensively simulated in parallel with detailed instrumental monitoring, collecting data of energy production and consumption as well as indoor thermal conditions. Data from instrumental monitoring of 20 parameters in and outside the house at one minute intervals are used to evaluate energy and carbon performance, as well as to calibrate dynamic simulation models. These models are then used for experimental investigation of the house performance under different occupancy patterns and future climates. The research indicates that the climate change will require a robust approach to the design of new and retrofit applications that not only deals with higher summer temperatures but also with lower winter temperatures.

Pathways for long term zero carbon retrofit

This project generalises the experimental research with the Birmingham Zero Carbon House and looks into long term optimisation methods for zero carbon retrofit of various house archetypes, and into design interventions for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The multi-objective optimisation had three conflicting objectives: reducing carbon emissions, reducing construction cost and providing thermal comfort. The design variables related to the building fabric consisted of external wall construction, external glazing, window to wall ratio, infiltration, shading and thermal mass. Optimisation analysis was run using Birmingham current weather files, and future weather files for 2030, 2050 and 2080.

Development of an expert system for zero carbon design and retrofit

Opportunities for retrofit of buildings are often determined by assessors on site, using steady state low resolution energy calculation tools. This often leads to missed opportunities for efficiency of energy and carbon emissions solutions. Analysis of the retrofit design options in buildings is a complex process, which requires high resolutions dynamic simulation models. Increasing the number and range of the parameters to be considered in the simulation quickly leads to hundreds of thousands of design options for a single building that cannot be evaluated manually. The expert system is an interactive computer based decision making tool, which allows the user to enter the type and range of design parameters to be investigated on a hand-held device, perform background dynamic simulations on a dedicated simulation server, search the solution space using multi-objective optimisation based on a genetic algorithm, and inform the user of the range of possible solutions and trade-offs, whilst fulfilling environmental, social and economic criteria for zero carbon design. Thus the expert system provides advanced design decision-making capability to a wider audience and thus facilitates the scaling up of zero carbon retrofit of buildings.

A method for eliminating simulation performance gap in buildings built form natural fibrous materials

Natural fibrous materials, such as lime-bonded hemp, are of particular interest for sustainable construction because of low embodied energy, carbon sequestration, a considerable smoothing out of internal temperature fluctuations and simultaneous regulation of relative humidity. Standard dynamic simulation models do not have a built-in capability to simulate the effect of such materials accurately, due to a specific material structure and combined heat and moisture transfer. This causes a considerable performance gap. This project develops and experimentally validates Fourier transform based transfer functions that enhance simulation results and enable accurate representation of the behaviour of buildings built from lime-bonded hemp.

Exploring the energy performance of hemcrete in affordable housing

This research investigates the energy performance of hemcrete houses based on a two-year research project of a variety of house types for affordable house developments at two sites. The factors affecting energy performance such as build quality, build method, air tightness and ventilation design are reviewed in the light of site experience of this innovative material. The project monitored initial build problems associated with the construction method when scaled up to deliver 71 houses. The impact of user behaviour and the variability in energy consumption are explored, with the analysis of the energy performance and thermal comfort of occupants.

Mitigating risks of event avalanches caused by climate change - lessons for sustainable urban design

Development of the human society and its technological, economic and financial systems, coupled with the population growth, has resulted in high interconnectivity between individual and corporate entities. These entities form networks of co-dependent agents which operate under critical connectivity. Climate change has brought about an increased frequency of extreme events, such as heat waves, droughts, floods and hurricanes, which can easily set off event avalanches that propagate throughout these networks. This work looks into event propagation characteristics of production and consumption networks and into how these characteristics can be designed and managed so as to prevent such extreme events from becoming event avalanches that sweep through the network and result in considerable human and material costs. It draws conclusions on how sustainability of an urban environment can be maintained at the time of occurrence of extreme events.

An emergence-based approach to designing

Emergence has been at the heart of nature's designs, producing living organisms on earth for several billion years. The work demonstrates how emergence-based systems thinking opens up the scope for exploration and a range of resultant design possibilities. The current design practice explores a small number of design options for making an optimum design solution, resulting in a large number of design possibilities unexplored and in opportunities missed. The approach based on emergence integrates the systems approach into design thinking, extending the boundaries of current design practice.

See ljubomirjankovic.com

Teaching specialisms

Programme DirectorMA Zero Carbon Architecture and Retrofit Design

External engagement

Organising and chairing the First International Conference on Zero Carbon Buildings Today and in the Future, completed in September 2014. See zcb2014.org.

See external collaborations

Qualifications
  • PhD, University of Birmingham
  • BSc, University of Belgrade
Memberships
  • Chartered Engineer (CEng)
  • Member of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (MCIBSE)
  • Fellow of the Institution of Analysts and Programmers (FIAP)
Research

Current projects

Monitoring and experimentation with the Birmingham Zero Carbon House

Data from instrumental monitoring of 20 parameters in and outside the house at one minute intervals are used to evaluate energy and carbon performance, as well as to calibrate dynamic simulation models. These models are then used for experimental investigation of the house performance under different occupancy patterns and future climates.

Retrofit Plus

A project for scaling up retrofit of residential buildings, in collaboration with Birmingham City Council, Carillion Energy Services Ltd and other industrial partners. Project duration: 1 March 2014 to 28 February 2017 with £1.1M funding from Innovate UK and a consortium of industrial partners. See retrofitplus.org.

Deep Simplicity of Zero Carbon Design

Prof Jankovic has worked in two distinctively different fields: zero carbon design of buildings and modelling of behaviour of complex systems. This work unifies these two fields and establishes a unique new way forward in modelling of buildings that will help practitioners and students of architecture, engineering, and computer science.

Recent projects

  • Sustainable Urban Regeneration from Evidence Based Futures to Implementation. £3.2 M SUE2 project (EPSRC EP/F007426/1). Completed in April 2012.
  • The Analysis of Well-being Parameters Operating within the Environment of Castle Vale - the Application of Systems Approaches (EPSRC EP/F05856X/1). Competed in April 2012.

PhD students and their research topics

  • Halla Huws: Pathways to zero carbon retrofit

The following new PhD research students are expected to join shortly:

  • Michael Burnett: Alternative economic models for zero carbon retrofit
  • Bhaskar Bharadwaj: Applications of biomimicry to zero carbon retrofit
  • Purvesh Bharadwaj: Application of passive principles to zero carbon retrofit
  • Nicholas Torretta: Sustainable cities - learning from alternatives: a design approach for enabling sustainable urban living
Publications

Books and Chapters in Books

Jankovic, L., ed. (2014) Zero Carbon Buildings Today and in the Future. Proceedings of a conference held at Birmingham City University, 11-12 September 2014. Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK.

Jankovic, L. (2014) 'Energy and Comfort Modelling Tools'. In Sustainable Retrofitting of Commercial Buildings - Cool Climates, by S. Burton ed. Routledge. London and New York.

Jankovic. L. (2012) Designing Zero Carbon Buildings Using Dynamic Simulation Methods. Routledge. London and New York.

Lombardi, D. R. ... Jankovic, L. et al. (2012). Designing Resilient Cities - A Guide to good Practise. HIS BRE Press, Garston, Watford.

Articles in Journals

Caputo, S., Caserio, M.; Coles, R., Jankovic, L, Gaterell, M. (2013). A scenario-based analysis of building energy performance. Proceedings of the ICE - Urban Design and Planning, Volume 166, Issue 6, pp 326-348, December 2013, ICE Publishing.

Jankovic, L. (2012) 'An Emergence-based Approach to Designing'. The Design Journal, Volume 15 Issue 3, pp. 325-346, September 2012, London: Berg.

Caputo, S., Caserio, M., Coles, R., Jankovic, L. and Gaterell, M. (2012) 'Testing Energy Efficiency in Urban Regeneration'. Engineering Sustainability, Volume 165, Issue ES1, pp. 69-80, March 2012, ICE Publishing. 

Boyko, C. T., ... Jankovic, L., et al. (2012) 'Benchmarking Sustainability in Cities: The role of indicators and future scenarios'. Global Environmental Change. 01/2012; 22(1):245-254.

Hunt, D. V. L., ..., Jankovic, L., et al. (2012) 'Scenario Archetypes: Converging Rather than Diverging Themes'. Sustainability 4(4):740-772.

Peer-reviewed Conference Contributions

Huws, H. and Jankovic, L. (2014). "Birmingham Zero Carbon House - Making It Stay Zero Carbon Through Climate Change". In Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Zero Carbon Buildings Today and in the Future, Birmingham City University, 11-12 September 2014.

Huws, H. and Jankovic, L.(2014). "A Method for Zero Carbon Design Using Multi-objective Optimisation". In Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Zero Carbon Buildings Today and in the Future, Birmingham City University, 11-12 September 2014.

Basurra, S., Jankovic, L. and Zhang, Yi (2014). "Development of an Expert System for Zero Carbon Design and Retrofit of Buildings". In Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Zero Carbon Buildings Today and in the Future, Birmingham City University, 11-12 September 2014.

Eberlin, C. and Jankovic, L. (2014). "Exploring the energy performance of hemcrete in affordable housing and future implications for carbon reduction in the housing sector". In Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Zero Carbon Buildings Today and in the Future, Birmingham City University, 11-12 September 2014.

Jankovic, L. (2014) "A method for eliminating simulation performance gap in buildings built form natural fibrous materials". In Liora Malki-Epsthein, Catalina Spataru, Ljiljana Marjanovic Halburd and Dejan Mumovic (Editors); 2014, "Proceedings of the 2014 Building Simulation and Optimization Conference"; 23-24 June 2014, UCL, London, UK.

Huws, H. and Jankovic, L. (2014) "Optimisation of zero carbon retrofit in the context of current and future climate". In Liora Malki-Epsthein, Catalina Spataru, Ljiljana Marjanovic Halburd and Dejan Mumovic (Editors); 2014, "Proceedings of the 2014 Building Simulation and Optimization Conference"; 23-24 June 2014, UCL, London, UK

Jankovic, L. and H. Huws (2013) 'Birmingham Zero Carbon House - Energy, Carbon and Economic Performance Analysis'. In Proceedings of Sustainable procurement in urban regeneration and renovation. 21-25 May 2013, Oulu, Finland.

Jankovic, L. (2013) 'A method for reducing simulation performance gap using Fourier filtering'. IBPSA Building Simulation 2013 Conference, 25th - 30th August 2013, Chambery, France.

Huws, H., and Jankovic, L. (2013) 'Implications of Climate Change and occupant behaviour on future energy demand in a zero carbon house'. IBPSA Building Simulation 2013 Conference, 25th - 30th August 2013, Chambery, France.

Jankovic, L. and H. Huws (2012) 'Simulation experiments with Birmingham Zero Carbon House and optimisation in the context of climate change'. In proceedings of BSO 12 - Building Simulation and Optimization, 11 - 12 September 2012, University of Loughborough.

Jankovic, L. and H. Huws (2012) 'The Effect of Thermal Mass and Thermal Insulation on Retrofit Under Climate Change'. In Proceedings of Urban Sustainability and Resilience, 5 - 6 November 2012, University College London.

Jankovic. L. (2012) 'Mitigating Risks of Event Avalanches Caused by Climate Change - Lessons for Sustainable Urban Design'. In Gilbert, T. Kirkilionis, M. and Nicolis, G., eds. (2013) Proceedings of the European Conference on Complex Systems 2012, pp. 337-346, Springer, Dordrecht Heidelberg New York London.

Media/broadcast

Radio interviews for

  • BRMB on Fuel Poverty on 15 March 2012
  • BBC Radio WM on Fracking 15 January 2014
  • BBC Radio WM on Fracking 15 January 2014
Media Work

Professor Jankovic is one of the University’s dedicated team of trained media champions, and can comment on a range of subjects including:

  • Zero Carbon Design/Retrofit
  • Renewable Energy
  • Reduction of fossil fuel extraction and utilisation including shale gas and fracking
  • Sustainability
  • Architecture

To arrange a media interview, please contact Birmingham City University Press Office on 0121 331 6738, 07967 271532,
email press@bcu.ac.uk or via Twitter @BCUPressOffice