PhD Student: Assessing the Building Energy Performance Gap Based On On-Board Monitored Data KU Leuven Building Physics Section Belgium



You will become a PhD student in the Building Physics Section of the Department of Civil Engineering at KU Leuven ( The Building Physics Section currently consists of 4 faculty members and about 25 doctoral and postdoctoral researchers. The global objective of the ongoing research at the Building Physics Section can be formulated as: performing high level research to realize comfortable, durable and energy efficient buildings and urban areas by a better and integrated knowledge of the underlying physical phenomena. Main focus is on heat, air and moisture transport in buildings and the built environment. In this research area the Building Physics Section has built up a strong experimental and numerical expertise, and this on different levels: building materials, building components, whole buildings and urban areas. The developed know-how and interaction between these different levels makes the Building Physics Section internationally unique and highly respected.



This PhD-project is part of a funded research project on ‘Building performance characterization and assessment based on in-situ measurements’. The project starts from the idea that decreasing the energy use in buildings can only be achieved by an accurate characterisation of the as built energy performance of buildings. This is mainly for two reasons. First of all, despite the ever more stringent energy legislation for new and renovated buildings, monitoring the actual energy performances reveals in many cases a significant performance gap with the theoretically designed targets. Secondly, the ever increasing need for integration of renewables stresses the existing energy systems which can be remedied by using intelligent grids that are aware of the actual status of the buildings in a district. A reliable characterisation and assessment of the actual performance of buildings can only be realised by optimised in-situ measurements combined with statistical dynamic data analysis techniques.


The part of the project you will be focusing on is the assessment of the building envelope’s performance gap. The main goal of the PhD is to develop and optimize data analysis methods for a quality assessment of the energy performance of residential buildings. The methods should be able to pinpoint the most relevant building performance indicators,such as the overall heat loss coefficient, the energy efficiency of a system,… based on on-board monitoring techniques. Final objective is to assess the performance gap between designed and actual achieved energy performance.


The research will be based on past and current research at the Building Physics Section. Furthermore, the research is embedded in the Annex 71-project of the Energy in Buildings and Communities programme of the International Energy Agency ( “Building Energy Performance Assessment based on in-situ measurements”.



The project will evaluate and improve the applicability and reliability of data analysis methods for the quality assessment of real life building performance. A basic knowledge of building physics and statistics is essential. Independence and initiative, reliability in teamwork and good communication skills are similarly valuable. Finally, a suitable knowledge of spoken and written English is required.


The position is open for applicants holding a Master of Science in Engineering (or equivalent): Architecture, Civil Engineering, Energy, Mechanical Engineering or Electrical Engineering with astrong interest and some experience in the field of energy in buildings.


If applicable, mention your current experience and knowledge on the topic, and why you are interested and motivated to acquire expertise in this field.


The project is currently available. You can apply while currently being a MSc-student, but you have to have obtained your MSc  degree before the date of appointment.



The successful applicant will receive a full-time scholarship for four years to do research to obtain the PhD-degree in Civil Engineering


You will participate in the international meetings of the Annex 71-project of the International Energy Agency.


You will receive training from the Arenberg Doctoral School at University of Leuven, one of the top European Universities, providing an excellent research environment. You will have accessto state-of-the-art technologies, core facilities and technical support


You will gain experience in many transferal skills and receive personalized mentoring.


You will also have the opportunity to participate in local and international conferences and thus expend your scientific network


The position is currently available.



For more information please contact Staf Roels, tel.: +32 16 32 13 49, mail: or Dirk Saelens, tel.: +32 16 32 13 43, mail:


You can apply for this job no later than May 31, 2019 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

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