Rebecca Ward

Research interests

I am interested in how numerical simulation can be used in conjunction with monitored data to improve our understanding, design and operation of the built environment.

One of my key interests is how the interaction of plants with their local environment can impact on environmental conditions, specifically inside buildings. I am responsible for the development of the Greenhouse Energy Simulation tool. This has been used in retrofit studies for the ornamental glasshouses at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, for analyses of residential rooftop and commercial greenhouses, and is currently being used for simulation of the Growing Underground (GU) farm in Clapham, London. As part of this study I have developed a continuous calibration process which will allow the numerical model to be embedded within the GU digital twin and to maintain fidelity with the monitored environment.

My work is currently also focussed on the stochastic energy simulation of buildings, and in particular the way in which occupant actions affecting building energy demand are best simulated. My PhD studies, sponsored by Laing O’Rourke, explored the use of functional data analysis to develop more realistic occupant-related loads for building energy simulation. As a result of the analysis I have created a tool for generation of stochastic plug loads and lighting for input into building energy simulation tools.


I joined the Energy Efficient Cities initiative in April 2011 under a Daphne Jackson Fellowship funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, to work in the area of energy modelling and simulation. At that time I was investigating the potential to reduce carbon emissions arising from the supply and use of energy in the buildings at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which involved the environmental performance modelling of individual buildings and the development of a bespoke model for the ornamental glasshouses. I have subsequently studied part-time for a PhD looking at stochastic simulation of occupant-related building internal loads. Prior to the fellowship I worked for Atkins Science and Technology in the Structural Dynamics department for 13 years. I hold an MA in Physics from St. John’s College, Oxford, and an MSc in Structural Dynamics from Cranfield Institute of Technology.

I am currently employed at the Alan Turing Institute as a Research Associate in the Data-Centric Engineering group.