Professor Fergus Nicol

Professor Fergus Nicol is best known for his work in human thermal comfort, principally the 'adaptive' approach.

Professor Fergus Nicol leaning against a brick wall and smiling to camera.

Professor Fergus Nicol

In the 1960s and early 1970s, Fergus Nicol researched building physics and human thermal comfort at the Building Research Establishment and the Human Physiology Unit at the Medical Research Council. He taught at the Schools of Architecture at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, and the Architectural Association in London. After a period working in a bookshop, he returned to teaching and research in 1992.

Fergus is best known for his work in human thermal comfort, principally the 'adaptive' approach. He led the EU project Smart Controls and Thermal Comfort (SCATS) which is the basis of European comfort standard EN15251, which he helped draft. Together with his long-term colleague Michael Humphreys, he has been co-editor of the guidance on thermal comfort in CIBSE Guide A. He was a member of the CIBSE task force on overheating in buildings and is lead author of their guidance in Technical Memorandum 52.

Fergus helped develop Masters courses on sustainability at Oxford Brookes and London Metropolitan Universities and supervises a number of PhD students. He has co-authored numerous journal articles and other publications. Fergus convenes the Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings and led the organisation of their conference ‘Counting the Cost of Comfort in a Changing World’ in April 2014.

Fergus’ research interests are human comfort and discomfort in buildings, principally thermal comfort, energy efficiency and the relationship between the two. The implications of energy use and comfort for climate change and the effect of climate change on energy use and comfort. The ways in which the design of cities and buildings needs to adapt to allow for the effects of climate change.

Areas of expertise

  • Low-energy and sustainable architecture

Fergus was a part-author of the pamphlet One Million Climate Jobs published by the Campaign against Climate Change.