Dr Luisa Brotas

Successfully led MSc thesis supervision of 64 students and have returned 100% completion of MSc awards.

Dr Luisa Brotas  

Luisa is a registered architect in Portugal and in the UK with a PhD in Daylighting by the London Metropolitan University (2004). She was a researcher at the Department of Renewable Energy of the former National Institute of Engineering, Technology and Innovation, INETI, in Portugal for 13 years.

She is co-director (with Prof Fergus Nicol) of the Low Energy Architecture Research Unit, LEARN, where she has worked since 2002 and is Course Leader of the MSc Architecture, Energy and Sustainability at The Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass) of London Metropolitan University. She also taught at three other UK and two Portuguese Universities.

To date Luisa has successfully led MSc thesis supervision of 64 students and have returned 100% completion of MSc awards. Two students were in the Top Twenty and one in the Top Thirty of the University Recognition Award for Academic Excellence, Best Masters Award with Distinction in 2011 and 2012. One was the University Recognition Award for Academic Excellence - Best Masters Award with Distinction in 2013. Former students have successfully found working places in top consultancy and architectural practices, to name a few: ARUP, GIA, Grimshaw, Mott MacDonald, XCO2 and Zaha Hadid. She is also supervising four PhD students and have supervised researchers and international PhD students over shorter periods in Learn at London Metropolitan University.

She has been involved in energy efficiency in new and retrofit buildings, eco materials and sustainability, natural ventilation and Passivhaus standard, daylighting and thermal analysis in national and European funded projects. Her interests also include bioclimatic design, adaptive thermal and visual comfort and high dynamic range images.

She is actively involved in the Nceub – Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings and along with Fergus have recently organised the successful 8th International Windsor Conference.

Luisa has also been part of the Organising and Scientific committee of other conferences including four People and Buildings,a conference for masters students in sustainable buildings organised by Nceub and Learn. 
The MC2014 - 4th Masters Conference People and Buildings is to be held in London in 19th September 2014 at The Cass.

Luisa is also organising the 13th International RADIANCE workshop in partnership with ARUP to be held in London in 1st til 3rdSeptember 2014.

Luisa is secretary of the Nceub network and Vice-Chair of the Daylight Group of Cibse.

She is director of a small Architectural practice in London Luxal ltd, which recently completed an interior design for a restaurant in London and is currently redesigning a flat.


  • MSc Architecture Energy & Sustainability

My teaching and research spans the fields of daylight, sustainability and energy efficiency in buildings and urban areas with a strong emphasis on adaptive thermal and visual comfort. With buildings contributing to more that 50% of the CO2 emissions I have a keen interest in environmental and sustainable solutions, particularly those applicable to the existing stock. Given the fact new buildings will account for around 2% of the buildings in use by 2050, refurbishing existing buildings and improving the indoor conditions while reducing the energy consumption from fossil fuels becomes particular important to achieve the UK commitments to reduce CO2 emissions. Buildings are only successful when they are both low energy and comfortable to the occupants. Assuming that people spend nearly 80% of their lives indoors, it is important to provide comfortable, safe and healthy environments without excessive use and depletion of natural resources. With the increasing realisation of what climate change involves, resilience and adaptability are also important in the urban context.

Good daylighting has proven to enhance productivity, reduce staff absences and achieve energy savings in artificial lighting, particular relevant as the later accounts for almost a quarter of the total carbon emissions in non-domestic buildings. Significant research has highlighted the impact of daylight on health and the importance of a view out through a window. Early phases of design are fundamental to promote and implement cost effective sustainable solutions. Likewise Building Performance Evaluation is pivotal to identifying deficiencies on existing buildings and fine tuning key aspects of their energy performance as well as the well-being, satisfaction and productivity of the occupants. Large discrepancies between predictions and real energy consumption in buildings are not uncommon. Whether these are a result of design simulation assumptions, user input, budget costs or poor construction is not fully understood. Often they have been attributed to bad user behaviour. Clear guidelines to users and all the stakeholders in the build environment are still needed.

Governments, the market and the people as beneficiaries must all work for the same aim of pushing sustainability into “business as usual”. Schools of Architecture and Property and Construction have a major role and responsibility to educate the future generation into designing and constructing the built environment to be aesthetically, functional and environmentally friendly. I must emphasise my background in Architecture, complemented with building science experience promotes an integrated design approach and creates different perspectives. My work and research often involve a holistic approach encompassing several of the above fields, from design inception till post occupancy, including dealing with transient building energy and daylight simulations with ESP-r, EnergyPlus and RADIANCE programs amongst others.

Expertise areas

  • Low-energy
  • sustainable architecture.