Cardiff School of Art & Design>Staff>Dr John Richard Littlewood

Professor John Richard Littlewood BSc (hons) PhD FHEA ACIAT


t: 02920 416676

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0351-9954

Specialist Subject Areas

Architectural Science & Technology; Building Performance Evaluation; Building Diagnostics and Surveying; Building Fire Performance – the Safety Gap; Biodiversity & Organic Food Production; Building Services Engineering; Environmental Design, Construction and Operation of Buildings; Housing; Sustainable & Resilient Buildings; Sustainable Energy & Water.


ISO18436 PCN Level I (General) Accredited and Level II (Civil Engineering) Accredited Infra-Red Thermography, British Institute of Non Destructive Testing (2014).
Domestic Air Tightness Testing Accredited, British Institute of Non Destructive Testing (2014).
Domestic Air Tightness Testing Qualified, Building Science Research Information Association (2012).
ISO18436 PCN Level I Thermographer, Certified – InfraRed Training Centre, Flir (2011).
PhD: A study of the design and thermal performance of two storey earth sheltered houses (2001).
BSc (Hons) First in Building Surveying (1996)


I trained as a Building Surveyor before specialising in Architectural & Building Engineering and Technology, focused on Sustainability, and Building and Systems Performance. I am a Chartered Building Engineer. In 2021 I have 27+ years’ experience in academia, industry, and being seconded to various organisations using my innovative expertise to solve building performance problems impacting upon occupant comfort, energy use and operational carbon mitigation, and so quality of life. The central foci’s of my work are: housing at a single building level, to micro communities and estates; and collaboration with industry and stakeholders for societal resilience & wellbeing. I have worked with/continue to work with numerous organisations. Housing Associations: 30+ for their new development and retrofit programmes; four principal building contractors - bringing performance innovation to their design and construction stages; two steel-frame and timber-frame offsite manufacturers of modern methods of construction. Plus, many UK and international Universities and Polytechnics.

Since 2008 I have worked full time at Cardiff Metropolitan University as the Founder (2009) & Lead of the Ecological Built Environment (EBERE) group, transitioning into the Sustainable and Resilient Built Environment (SuRBe) group in 2018. SuRBe is both multi-disciplinary for the built & natural environment crafts and professions, and trans-disciplinary for societal resilience.

I have generated circa £3.2 Million of funding since 1997, from research council grants, EU funding, InnovateUK, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, Organisations’ R&D Funds, and Consultancy. I strove to work with industry, stakeholders, and society as soon I commenced my PhD, to solve technical problems (often before industry are aware of them) and as such have been in-part funded by industry/government agencies since 1997. My specialist subject areas are diverse crossing both qualitative and quantitative built environment, engineering & scientific disciplines and methodologies: Architectural & Building Engineering, Science & Technology; Building Performance Assessment; Building Fabric Diagnostics and Forensics; The Safety Gap - Fire Performance; Professional Practice Change Management; Post Occupancy Evaluation; Environmental Design, Construction and Operation of Buildings; Optimising Offsite Manufacturing of Modern Methods of Construction; Occupant Comfort and Health & Wellbeing; Housing; Innovative Construction; Sustainable & Resilient Buildings; the Energy:Water Nexus; and Urban & Organic Food, Flora & Fauna Production & Protection.

I lead on three Professional Doctorate pathways at Cardiff Metropolitan University, including Engineering and Sustainable Built Environment. In 2021, I have supervised 11 research degrees to completion; I am supervising 18 (three due for completion in 2021) and I have been examiner for 18 in Australia, France, and the UK, in English and French. I have authored/co-authored 145 academic peer reviewed published articles and book chapters, including Co-Editing one book, six conference proceedings, and several Journal special issues. I am one of three Co-Editors for the Springer book series: 'Advances in Sustainability Science and Technology' launched in 2019, with four volumes published in 2021, and a fifth proposal accepted 'Smart and Sustainable Technology for Resilient Cities and Communities’.

I have been a reviewer for many conference and journal publications, and book publishers since 2001. Since 2010 I have undertaken numerous roles for KES International, including for the Sustainability in Energy and Buildings (SEB) International conference. In 2021 (2014, 2017, 2019, 2020) I am General Chair. Since 2013 & 2015 Chair of the Sustainable, Resilient & Smart Buildings General Track, and Co-Chairs of invited tracks linking design to health; and also manufacturing. In 2021, I am also Co-Chair of the Covid-19 International Online Summit 'A Transition to a more Resilient World' and one of the six Keynote Speakers. In September 2020, I was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to KES International Award for a decade of supporting the SEB International Conference Series, and one of the founding co-editors of the Springer book series.

I am happy and keen to collaborate locally, regionally, nationally and internationally and across cultures.

Current research

John is an applied researcher with an entrepreneurial approach. In addition to heading EBERE (see above) John is a member of Community Housing Cymru’s ( Energy Group, Fire Safety Group and Technical Services Forum. Over the years his research and enterprise interests have merged and become diverse. John leads projects for industry, often securing grants and funding to address operational and strategic business challenges that tend to be inter-disciplinary in their nature. He also designs and supervises PhDs & Professional Doctorates in areas such as Benchmarking Food-Production & Novel Beehives; Assessing the Thermal Performance in New Low Carbon Dwellings & Retrofitted Deprived Dwellings; Novel Heating & Cooling Systems for Buildings, such as building integrated earth tubes and micro-biomass; Rammed earth and Straw-bale Construction; Mapping and Reducing Energy Use in Manufacturing Medical Devices; and Developing Water Mitigation and Reuse Strategies for Irrigating Commercial Buildings in the Middle East. His core interests lie in Optimising the Design, Construction & Operation of new and existing Housing; Diagnostic Monitoring and Testing of Performance in Buildings and impacts upon Occupant health, energy use and comfort; Fire Performance in Buildings – the Safety Gap; and Sustainable Buildings and Resources.

A common theme in them all is a desire to place people, their homes and communities at the heart of research, aimed at creating ‘real world’ impact, for a sustainable and resilient future.

Principal Publications, Exhibitions and Awards

View Dr Littlewood’s papers and publications on Cardiff Metropolitan University’s DSpace repository.

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0351-9954

Selected Journal Articles, Book Chapters & Patents (recent and ‘in press’) 

Zaccaro, F., Littlewood, J.R. & Hayles, C., An Analysis of Repeating Thermal Bridges from Timber Frame Fraction in Closed Panel Timber Frame Walls: A Case Study from Wales, UK, Energies. (2021). DOI: 10.3390/en14041211

Seguela, G., Littlewood, J.R. and Karani, G. (2020) 'A GHG Metric Methodology to Assess Onsite Buildings Non-Potable Water System for Outdoor Landscape Use', Applied Sciences, 10(4), p.1339. DOI: 10.3390/app10041339.DOI: 10.3390/app10041339

Seguela, G., Littlewood, J.R. & Karani, G. Water resource management in the context of a non-potable water reuse case study in arid climate. Energ. Ecol. Environ. (2020). DOI. 10.1007/s40974-020-00169-z 

SerraValentina, LittlewoodJohn R, and Capozzoli Alfonso, (Editorial) Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability 2019 172:6, 271-271. DOI: 10.1680/jensu.2019.172.6.271

Naimi, A. Karani, G, Littlewood, J. R. 2018. Stakeholder Views on Land Reclamation and Marine Environment in Doha, Qatar. Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. DOI: 10.15640/jaes.v7n1a4. 

• Littlewood J., Spataru C. & Howlett B., Jain, L.C. 2017. Smart Energy Control Systems for Sustainable Buildings. Springer, Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies series. Vol 67. March. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-52076-6.

• LITTLEWOOD, J, R. ALAM, M. GOODHEW, S. 2017. A new methodology for the selective measurement of building performance and safety. Energy Procedia Journal. Vol. tbc, February, pp. TBC.

• LITTLEWOOD, J, R. SMALLWOOD, I. One year temperature and heat pump performance for a micro-community of low carbon dwellings, in Wales, UK. Energy Procedia Journal. Vol. tbc, February, pp. TBC.

• Cosgrove J., Littlewood J, & Wilgeroth P., 2017. "Development of a Framework of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Identify Reductions in Energy Consumption in a Medical Devices Production Facility", International Journal of Ambient Energy (IJAE), Taylor & Francis. January. pp, 1-12.

• Gorse, C. Brooke-Peat, M. Booth, C. Crosse, J. Erkoreka, A. Fitton, R. Fletcher, M. Goodhew, S. Gledson, B. Fylan, F. Glew, D. Johnston, D. Littlewood, J. R. Meuleman, J. Miles-Shenton, M. Parker, J. Pomponi, J. Scott, L. Thomas, F. 2017. Building Performance Evaluation. Chartered Institute of Builders, Epsom, UK. (inpress).

• Cosgrove J., Littlewood J. & Wilgeroth P. 2017. Development of a holistic method to analyse the consumption of energy and technical services in manufacturing facilities, Chapter Nine. In: 'Smart Energy Control Systems for Sustainable Buildings'. Editors: Littlewood J., Spataru C. & Howlett B., ISSN: 2190-3018, Vol 67. Springer, Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies series. March.

• Seguela, G. Littlewood, J. R. Karani, G. 2017. Onsite food waste processing as an opportunity to conserve water in a medical facility case study, Abu Dhabi. Energy Procedia Journal. Vol. tbc, February, pp. TBC.

• LITTLEWOOD, J, R. SMALLWOOD, I. 2016. In-construction tests show rapid smoke spread across dwellings.  Journal of Engineering Sustainability. 23 May.

• ATKINSON, J. LITTLEWOOD, J, R. GEENS, A, J. KARANI. 2016. Relieving fuel poverty in Wales with external wall insulation. Journal of Engineering Sustainability. April 2016.

• Cosgrove J., Rivas Duarte M. J., Littlewood J & Wilgeroth P. 2016. "An Energy Mapping Methodology for reducing CO2 emissions from Manufacturing Operations", Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture. September.

• MARAIS, P. LITTLEWOOD, J, R. KARANI. 2015. The use of polymer stabilised earth foundations for rammed earth construction. Energy Procedia Journal. Volume 83, December 2015, Pages 464–473.

• ATKINSON, J. LITTLEWOOD, J. R. KARANI. G. GEENS, A, J. 2015. Did ARBED I save energy in Wales? deprived dwellings. Energy Procedia, December, pp. 444-453.

• LITTLEWOOD, J. R. DAVIES, G, J. SMALLWOORD, I. 2014. Energy and Environmental Performance of the Abertridwr Community – First Winter Season. Energy Procedia, Volume 62, December, Pages 532–542.

• Hammoudi, A. Karani, G. Littlewood, J, R. 2014. Road traffic accidents amongst drivers in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Journal of Traffic Logistics & Engineering. Vol 2. Pp 7-12.

• NOORAEI, M. LITTLEWOOD, J. R. EVANS, N. I. 2013. Feedback from occupants in ‘as designed’ low-carbon apartments, a case study in Swansea, UK. Energy Procedia, Volume 42 – Elsevier, November 2013, pp. 446-456.

• LITTLEWOOD, J, R. 2013. Chapter Four – Assessing and monitoring the thermal performance of dwellings, Chapter Four. In: Architectural Technology: Research & Practice. Editor: EMMITT, S. Wiley Blackwell, Oxford, UK.

• HOPPER, J.; LITTLEWOOD, J.; GEENS, A.; KARANI, G., COUNSELL, J. AND THOMAS, A. 2012. Assessing retrofitted external wall insulation using infrared thermography. Structural Survey. 30 (3), pp.245 – 266.


• Littlewood, J.R, Howlett, R.J, Alfonso, C., Jain, L.C, Sustainability in Energy and Buildings, Proceedings of SEB 2019, SIST, volume 163, Springer. (2020).

• Kaparaju, P., Howlett, R.J., Littlewood, J., Ekanyake, C., Vlacic, L. (Eds.). 2019. Sustainability in Energy and Buildings 2018 Proceedings of the 10th International Conference in Sustainability on Energy and Buildings (SEB’18). Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies, Springer. Vol. 131. 

Selected Conference Papers / Presentations (recent)

• B. Philip1* J. Littlewood2 R. Radford2 N. Evans2 T. Whyman2 D.P. Jones2 MJ DeJong JM Schooling GMB Viggiani.2019. Energy Assessment Technique for Retrofit Mine-water District Heat Network. International Conference on Smart Infrastructure and Construction 2019 (ICSIC). July, University of Cambridge, UK.

Butler, T. J. Littlewood, J.R. Millward, H. 2019. Enhanced IEQ through Passive Earth Tubes in Canada. The REHVA European HVAC Journal - Special Issue. Volume: 56 Issue: 3 June 2019, pp. 57-63.

Zaccaro, F. Littlewood, J. R. Wilgeroth, P. Whyman, A. Newman, G. Lancashire, R. Davies, G. 2018. An Introduction To Systemized Offsite Manufactured and Engineered Timber Dwelling Typologies from Welsh and UK Forestry Supply Chains, Enabling Transition to Nearly Zero Carbon Homes in Wales. SEEDS 2018 International Conference, 6th to 7th September 2018, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland. pp. 734-743.

Grant, P. Littlewood, J. R. Pepperell, P. 2018. Emotive Architecture – Sensory Design Evaluation of Schools. SEEDS 2018 International Conference, 6th to 7th September 2018, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland. pp. 935-941.

Cosgrove J., Doyle F., O'Neill M., Littlewood J. & Wilgeroth P., 2016. A methodology for verified energy savings in manufacturing facilities through changes in operational behaviour. International Conference on Energy Efficiency in Industry, European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ECEEE). Berlin, Germany. September. Cited at:

• Seguela, G. Littlewood, J. R. Karani, G. 2016. A study to assess the suitability of soil improvements for reducing the use of potable water for irrigation in a semi-arid climate medical facility case study, Abu Dhabi. 5th International Eco Summit, Ecological Sustainability, Engineering Change, 29 August- 1 September 2016 Montpellier, France.

• Gorse. C. Littlewood, J.R. Goodhew, S. Miles-Shenton, D. Farmer, D. Glew, D. Thomas, F. 2016. Building quality: Consequences of failure to seal infiltration and exfiltration pathways through the fabric. International SEEDS Conference 2016: Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society. 14-15 September 2016, Leeds, UK.

• Alhazim, M. Littlewood, J, R. Canavan, K. Carey, P. 2015. Responses of Kuwaiti Government dwellings occupants regarding their perception, preferences and behaviours in their current dwelling. Published in the proceedings of the AEI Conference 2015, March 24-27, 2015, Milwaukee, Wisconsin [2015].

• BUTLER. T. J. LITTLEWOOD, J. R. GEENS, A. J. 2014. Earth Tube Systems: Tempering Fresh Air in a Canadian Climate. Paper presented as a poster at – CIBSE/ASHRAE Technical Symposium, Dublin, Ireland, 3-4 April 2014. Cited at:

•  Hammoudi, A. Karani, G. and Littlewood, J. 2013. Causes of traffic accidents among pedestrians in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Proc. 2nd International Conference on Computational Techniques and Artificial Intelligence (ICCTAI'2013), Eds. March 17-18, 2013 Dubai (UAE), pp 207-211.

•  LITTLEWOOD, J. R. TOLEDO, L. 2012. Knowledge 'place' map of Swansea – The Urban Village Project. Paper presented and published in the proceedings for The Production of Place 2012 International Conference, University of East London, UK; 8th to 9th December 2012. Cited at:

• HOPPER, J. LITTLEWOOD, J, R. GEENS, A, J. FOX, C. COUNSELL, J. A. THOMAS, A. 2012. Developing monitoring protocols for dwellings undergoing low carbon retrofit solutions, Wales, UK. Paper presented and published in the conference proceedings for the Retrofit 2012 Conference, 24-26 January 2012, University of Salford, Salford, UK. Cited at:

• LITTLEWOOD, J, R. TAYLOR, T. DAVIES, G. JOHN. D. How to minimise space heating to dwellings in Wales, UK through the use of exhaust air source heat pumps: results of a post-occupancy monitoring study in Bargoed, UK. Paper accepted to be presented as a poster and published in the proceedings for the World Sustainable Building Conference SB11 Helsinki, 18-21st October 2011, Finnish Association of Civil Engineers, Helsinki, Finland.

LITTLEWOOD, J. R. TAYLOR. T. GOODHEW. S. EVANS. N. I. COUNSELL. J. A. M. WHYMAN. A. WILGEROTH. P. 2011. Development of a thermography protocol for the in-construction testing of the thermal performance of low carbon dwellings. Paper presented as a poster and published in the proceedings of the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers Technical Symposium, 6-7 September 2011, Demontford University, Leicester, UK.

• HATHERLEY, S. LITTLEWOOD, J, R. COUNSELL, J. A. GEENS, A, J. SINNETT, N. An exploration of the challenges facing developers of affordable dwellings following low carbon and ecological principles, in rural locations in Wales, UK. Paper accepted to be presented as an oral presentation and published in the proceedings for the World Sustainable Building Conference SB11 Helsinki, 18-21st October 2011, Finnish Association of Civil Engineers, Helsinki, Finland, pp. forthcoming.


Best general conference track: Sustainable Buildings, Mediterranean Green Energy Forum (MGEF13), and 5th Sustainability and Energy in Buildings International Conference Fez, Morocco, June 2013.

Best invited conference track: Assessment and monitoring the environmental performance of buildings, 4th Sustainability and Energy in Buildings International Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, September 2012;

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors prize. Building Surveying (1996)

Selected Enterprise and Grant Awards

• Upper Llynfi Valley Feasibility Study in collaboration with SPECIFIC, Swansea University, and Bridgend Council (+18 other partners), £8.25K;
• KESS2 PhD Scholarship with Prof G Karani, Dr Jo Atkinson, ESF / Being Greener Melin Homes, £54.6K, 2016;
• Cardiff Metropolitan University Research Innovation Award (Level II), in collaboration with Wales and the West Housing Association Linc-Cymru Housing Association, and Leeds Sustainability Institute, £72K, 2016.
• Cardiff Metropolitan University Research Enterprise Investment Fund, in collaboration with Coastal Housing Group and the University of Plymouth, £114k, 2015.
• Short KTP with Morganstone Building Contractors (in collaboration with Coastal Housing Group) InnovateUK/Welsh Government £73K, 2015;
• Short KTP with Greenhill Building Contractors (in collaboration Melin Homes) Welsh Government £50K, 2013;
• Technology Strategy Board / United Welsh Housing Association – Building Performance Evaluation, £60K, 2012;
• Reverse SIP with Geoff Pettifor, £3K, 2011;
• HEFCU Donation Top-Up – £14K, 2011;
• Coastal Housing Group Donation – £28K, 2010;
• KESS PhD Scholarship with Prof A. Geens, ESF / Coastal Housing Group, £54.6K, 2010;
• KESS PhD Scholarship with Prof A. Geens & J. Counsell, ESF/ Pembrokeshire Housing Association, £54.6K 2010;
• ERDF / Coastal Housing Group with Evans, Counsell, Low Carbon Built Environment, led by Cardiff University, £279K of £34Million, 2010.
• KESS PhD Scholarship with Prof A. Geens & J. Counsell (ESF / Coastal Housing Group, £54.6K, 2009);
• KESS PhD Scholarship with Prof A. Geens & J. Counsell (ESF/ United Welsh Housing Association, £54.6K 2009);
• Double Associate KTP with Prof. Brooksbank and Evans, National Botanic Garden of Wales, TSB/WG, £257K, 2009;
• UWIC Capital Bids, £7.5K, 2008;
• EPSRC research grant, led by University of Salford – £175K of £2.5Million, 2008.

University of the West of England
• Classic two year KTP with Two Rivers Housing Association, Forest of Dean £78K, 2007, Lead Supervisor working with Academic Lead;
• Building Design Partnership, – £10K, 2006.

University of South Wales (formerly University of Glamorgan)
• Pontypridd Parish Council, – £5K, 2005.
• Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists – PhD Scholarship, £1K, 2004.
• EPSRC CASE Award for a PhD Scholarship – £56K, 2004.
• Highbury Builders Collective, – £13K, 204.
• Science and Research Initiative Fund, £21K, 2002.
• RAE Equipment Fund, £30K, 2002;
• Capital Equipment Fund, £15K, 1999.
• Ecology Building Society, £2K, 1997.

Doctoral Supervision

Simon Hatherley – An examination of development models for low innovative low carbon ecological dwellings for rural areas of Wales.
Trevor Butler – A study to investigate the potential of earth tube systems to provide an energy efficient method of cooling buildings.
Naimi Ali – A study to investigate pollution of coastal marine life in Qatar.
Paul Marais – A study to develop a Rammed Earth housing standard for South Africa.
Geraldine Seguela – A study to develop a holistic ecological model for medical facilities in Abu Dhabi.
Jon Moorhouse – Developing strategies for wider stock housing retrofit using an analysis of survey databases that reflects field observations from retrofit prototype monitoring schemes.
John Cosgrove – Mapping energy use in a manufacturing facility in Ireland.
Christina Hirst – developing a legal and financial model for renewable facilities as investment assets.
Kevin Rentz – Frank Lloyd Wright and Ecological Design in the 21stCentury.
Mohammad Alhazim – Developing a design guide for Kuwaiti Government dwellings.
KESS2 PhD scholar to commence April 2017 - An evaluation of retrofit measures on residential typologies in Wales, and assessing impacts upon energy performance, and occupant fuel poverty, health and wellbeing and thermal comfort

Mr David L Hood – Optimising biomass energy systems of less than one Megawatt (2016 – MprofPrac Ecological Building Practices).
Dr. Jo Atkinson – Evaluating external wall insulation (2015).
Dr. Abdullah Hammoudi – A Study to benchmark and investigate strategies to reduce road traffic collisions and casualties in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (2014).
Dr Jim Carfrae – The Moisture Performance of Straw Bale Construction in a Temperate Maritime Climate (2011).
Dr Robin Cook – A study of allotments and small land plots benchmarking for: vegetable food crop production (2006).