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KU Leuven

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 section's research targets heat and mass transfer in porous building materials, durability of (highly insulated) building components, and the energy use and indoor air quality in buildings and the built environment.

You will also be part of the EnergyVille research center ( EnergyVille is an association of the Flemish research institutes KU Leuven, VITO and imec in the field of sustainable energy and intelligent energy systems. Our researchers provide expertise to industry and public authorities on energy-efficient buildings and intelligent networks for a sustainable urban environment. This includes, for example, smart grids and advanced district heating and cooling. One of the objectives of EnergyVille is to become one of the top five European institutes in innovative energy research. In this context, the center was embedded in major national and international networks right from the start. It covers research, development, training and innovative industrial activities under one name and in close collaboration with local, regional and international partners.

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This PhD-project is part of a national research projectcalled “Next generation building energy assessment methods towards a carbon neutral building stock (NEPBC)”. It is a joint collaboration between theUniversity of Ghent and KU Leuven / EnergyVille as well as other scientific partners such as the BBRI (Belgian Building Research Institute) and PIXII (the Flemish Passive House Platform). Five PhD students, one post-doc researcher andmany other researchers join forces to achieve the project’s main goals which is “Developing future-proof building assessment methods to support the transitionto a carbon neutral building stock, while assessing the techno-socio-economic impact at the individual building, the local grid and the building stock level”. The part of the project you will be focusing on is buildings and theirintegration in larger energy systems such as thermal networks or the electrical energy grid. It can indeed be expected that certain energy services will be organized at a community level using a local heating network, a small micro-grid, common renewable energy sources, shared production units, shared storage units, … needs to include the concept of demand side management, self consumption, reduction of peak consumption/production through energy flexibility and understand its impact on the overall primary non-renewable energy use in relation to achieved comfort. The main goal of this PhD is to develop the necessary methods and models to be able to include this into the assessment methods.

The PhD project will consist of mainly three tasks:

  • Development of representative district energyinfrastructures: In this task a set of representative districts will bedeveloped. The sets should be used in the simulations to yield representative heating, cooling and electricity demands in residential districts including thestochastic nature of occupants. The aim is to use these sets to perform simulations on current and future district energy systems.
  • Development of simulation environment: The simulation of district energy systems is a challenging task as it requires a multi-disciplinary and multi-scale simulation environment that can cope withvery different time scales and large number of states (representing the buildingsand technical installations). In this project the openIDEAS framework ( will be used as simulation environment.
  • Development of indicators to district related energy aspects: The aim of this subtask is to develop socio-economic relevantindicators that are able to correctly assess the local generation of renewable energy (thermal or electrical) as well as the flexibility of the evaluated building in view of the energy challenges that occur within districts. The development of these indicators will be based on simulation of different scenarios applied to the representative district sets and use meta-modelling techniques to derive correlations between the indicators and the properties of the district.


The research will be based on past and current research at the Building Physics Section and the EnergyVille research center. Furthermore the research will become part of the starting research project: IBPSA Project 1: "BIM/GIS and Modelica Framework for building and community energy system design and operation" which is the successor of the very successful IEA EBC Annex 60 project: "New Generation Computational Tools for Building & Community Energy Systems".



This PhD-project is focusing on buildings and theirintegration in larger energy systems such as thermal networks or electrical grids.A basic knowledge of building energy simulation modeling is essential. Affinity to electrical modeling is a plus. Independence and initiative, reliability in team work and good com­munication skills are similarly valuable. Finally, a suitable knowledge of spoken and written English is required.

Theposition is open for applicants holding a Master of Science in Engineering (or equivalent): Architecture, Civil Engineering, Energy, Mechanical Engineering orElectrical Engineering with a strong interest and some experience in the fieldof energy in buildings. Knowledge and experience in the following fields will be relevant:

  • The context of the European Energy in Buildings legislation
  • Building simulation, especially MODELICA (to model buildings, equipment and control)
  • Simulation and operation of District Energy Systems: thermal networks and smart grids
  • Object-oriented programming, software development tools


Please indicate clearly, what your experience and knowledge in the mentioned fields is and why you are interested and motivated to acquire expertise in the other fields.

This project can start immediately. In your motivation letter, you should clearly state when you could start. 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 exciting scientific projects on BIPV. The project will be carried out in the Building Physics Section at the KU Leuven and at the EnergyVille research center in Genk
  • 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 access to 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
  • Funding is available but the successful candidate will be encouraged to also apply for additional fellowships
  • The position is available immediately



If interested please fill out the online application form. For further information please contact
You can apply for this job no later than July 06, 2018 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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