NexSys researchers generate new dataset of 1 million residential buildings 

A new paper co-authored by NexSys researchers presents an open dataset of characteristics of 1 million residential, urban buildings, based on data from buildings in Dublin.

NexSys researcher and study lead author Usman Ali

The dataset  – which is freely available here – includes building features such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems, and building fabric properties such as U-values for the walls, roofs, floors, doors, and windows. Parameters related to heating, lighting, interior equipment, photovoltaic systems, and hot water energy demand are also available.

The researchers used annual building energy simulations to generate the dataset which includes data on terraced, detached, semi-detached, and bungalow-style urban residential buildings. 

NexSys researchers Dr Usman Ali, Senior Energy Systems Researcher in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering in UCD, Prof Neil Hewitt, Professor of Energy, Faculty of Computing, Eng. & Built Environment in Ulster University, and Dr James O’Donnell, Associate Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering in UCD, are co-authors on the paper, which is published in Data in Brief

“The dataset holds immense potential for future research in the field of building energy analysis and modelling,” write the authors in the paper. 

“We hope that it [the dataset] will be a valuable resource for researchers – including Nexsys researchers studying electricity consumption or renewable technology uptake for instance – and also for policymakers looking at urban building performance and efficiency,” explains lead author Dr Usman Ali, who is based in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and UCD Energy Institute in UCD. 

“It took two months to run the simulations needed to generate the dataset,” he adds.

The modelling tools jEPlus, EnergyPlus and Design Builder were used for the computer simulations. Outputs of the models include Energy Use Intensity (EUI in kWh/(m2*year)) and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) labels, categorised on an A to G rating scale.

In a separate paper, Usman and colleagues used machine learning techniques to interrogate this dataset. One of the questions they looked at was the impact of retrofitting a building with and without PV on building performance and energy rating. As a next step, the research team plans to extend this GIS-based modelling work to create a dataset of all Irish buildings.

UCD Energy Institute researchers Divyanshu Sood (PhD student), Sobia Bano (PhD student) and Cathal Hoare (senior energy systems researcher) are also co-authors on the paper. 

The four type of Dublin buildings used in the models

The research was part-funded by NexSys, and part-funded by a US-Ireland R&D Partnership.


Full publication details:

Usman Ali, Sobia Bano, Mohammad Haris Shamsi, Divyanshu Sood, Cathal Hoare, Wangda Zuo, Neil Hewitt, and James O’Donnell. “Urban Residential Building Stock Synthetic Datasets for Building Energy Performance Analysis.” Data in Brief (2024): 110241

Link to dataset: 

NexSys and Energy Institute researchers take part in UCD-ESRI Energy Policy research conference

NexSys and Energy Institute researchers take part in UCD-ESRI Energy Policy research conference

On 16 January, energy policy researchers and collaborators gathered in Dublin’s ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute) to take part in the UCD-ESRI Energy Policy Research Conference.

The event featured presentations from researchers in UCD Energy Institute and ESRI, many of whom are also based in NexSys, showcasing a range of research from across both organisations related to energy policy.

Kicking off proceedings, Prof Alan Barrett, Chief Executive Officer of ESRI, and Prof Andrew Keane, Director of the Energy Institute and NexSys, welcomed the full house of delegates and speakers in what promised to be a fantastic conference. 

In the first session, focused on renewable energy and the decarbonisation transition and chaired by Anita Vollmer of ESRI, Joe Wheatley, energy policy research expert at UCD, presented research conducted with Prof Lisa Ryan, of UCD’s Energy Institute and NexSys, around modelling the uptake of solar PV electricity in households in Ireland.

Next up, Dr Kelly de Bruin, senior research officer at ESRI and also with NexSys, presented research on modelling the impacts of the transition in the Irish economy through electrification. This was followed by a talk by Dr Ramon Varghese, postdoctoral researcher at UCD working with Dr Vikram Pakrashi of UCD and NexSys. Ramon spoke about offshore wind turbines, and his research on using subsea micropiles as a solution for offshore wind energy development. 

The next session, focusing on economic and social impacts and chaired by Prof Lisa Ryan, started with a presentation by Dr Niall Farrell of ESRI about the equity and efficiency effects of energy subsidy cost-recovery. This was followed by Dr Nessa Winston of UCD and NexSys, who presented research on energy poverty focused on the impacts of residential and transport poverty on the educational and mental health outcomes of young people in Ireland. The research was conducted in collaboration with Dr Monika Da Silva Pedroso, postdoctoral researcher at UCD, Orla Dingley, PhD student at UCD with NexSys, and Dr Paraic Carroll, based in UCD and lead of the NexSys transport strand. 

The final presentation of the day was given by ESRI’s Dr Miguel Tovar Reanos and was about the role of financial literacy in experiencing fuel poverty. He presented findings based on a survey of 900 Irish homeowners.

NexSys researchers take part in Wind Energy Trade Show 2023

NexSys attended the Wind Energy Trade Show 2023 from October 11 and 12 at the Sport Ireland Campus in Blanchardstown, Dublin. 

NexSys funded investigator Dr Abdollah Malekjafarian (pictured above).

NexSys researchers from the offshore wind strand were at the NexSys stand of the trade show (stand A23), and NexSys funded investigator Dr Abdollah Malekjafarian (pictured above), based in UCD, presented findings from the NexSys offshore wind strand on the Research and Innovation stage on Wednesday October 11 at 3pm. 

NexSys PhD researchers Behnam Mohseni-Gharyehsafa (right in the image above) and Amirhossein Taran (left).

Dr Vikram Pakrashi, Lead of the Offshore Wind strand of NexSys and also based at UCD, said: “interdisciplinary excellence couldn’t be more timely and relevant than offshore wind for Ireland, and for the world. This is a rapidly evolving sector and fundamental to Ireland’s aspirations around clean, consistent and competitive energy supply. There is a tangible need for academic excellence to go hand in hand with industrial relevance. In the NexSys Offshore Wind strand, we tackle some of the key challenges in an Interdisciplinary manner and in close collaboration with industrial partners, leading to safer lifetime performance, improved operations & maintenance and cutting-edge innovations by assimilating fundamental physics, advanced experimentation, sensor networks, high-end computing and data analytics/AI.”

PhD researcher Mohadeseh (Mahdis) Ashkarkalaei at the NexSys stand 

NexSys industry partners RWE and ESB were exhibitors at the event. 

Speaking of the collaboration between RWE and NexSys, Peter Leffroy, Director, RWE, said: “collaboration is going to be at the heart of the energy system being able to achieve the ambitious and challenging decarbonisation targets that have been set. The NexSys programme is a superb example of what such collaboration should look like. RWE is delighted to become a partner in this programme and we are looking forward to engaging in mapping out the evolution of the energy system into the next generation.” 

Marguerite Sayers, Deputy CEO, ESB, said: “ESB is a founding member of the original partnership with UCD and industry and we are very pleased to continue that partnership through NexSys. Over that time we have gained huge insights from our involvement with UCD Energy Institute on the many challenges of moving to a decarbonised energy system. We expect the NexSys programme to provide further learnings and opportunities for engagement with all of the stakeholders involved. Decarbonising our energy system is central to ESB Net-Zero by 2040 Strategy and we recognise the value of collaboration between industry and academia in meeting this challenge.”

NexSys funded investigator Dr Abdollah Malekjafarian (left) and PhD student Behnam Mohseni-Gharyehsafa (right).

About the Trade Show 

Wind Energy Ireland said the event would “bring together Ireland’s growing domestic supply chain, the key players in the global wind energy industry and cutting edge research from Ireland and internationally for the country’s first Wind Energy Trade Show. Already a leader in onshore wind energy, Ireland has the project pipeline and the determination to become a force in offshore renewables as well. The 2023 Trade Show will showcase the exciting potential for new entrants into the Irish market and introduce to the world Irish companies that are not just competing here but are ready to compete internationally.”

“This event will be a meeting place where the world’s major players and key industry leaders will chart a vision for Ireland’s energy future alongside a rapidly growing network of local and European suppliers all looking to invest in our energy revolution.”

“The Trade Show will showcase the exciting potential for new entrants into the Irish market and introduce to the world, Irish companies that are not only ready, but willing and able to compete internationally.”

Find our more about Wind Energy Ireland and the trade show here: 

Find out more about NexSys

Next Generation Energy Systems (NexSys) is an all-island multidisciplinary research programme, involving nine different research institutions, alongside industry partners from across the energy sector. The programme’s key aims include tackling the challenges of energy decarbonisation, and developing evidence-based pathways for a just, net-zero energy system.

NexSys is financially supported by Science Foundation Ireland under the SFI Strategic Partnership Programme (Grant Number 21/SPP/3756), industry co-funding partners, and a philanthropic donation by Mr David O’Reilly. NexSys’ nine industry co-funding partners are: EirGrid, ESB Group, Davy, Atlantic Hub, CIE, RWE, EPRI, Gas Networks Ireland and SSE Airtricity. In addition, NexSys has an extensive network of collaborating partners, which will be essential in providing an evidence base for policy and delivery of services.

NexSys Director profiled in Silicon Republic series on research leaders

In the latest installment of Silicon Republic’s series on Ireland’s research leaders, Creating the Future, NexSys Director Prof Andrew Keane is interviewed by CEO and co-founder of Silicon Republic Ann O’Dea about his research career as well as NexSys’ work and mission.

In a wide ranging conversation, they discuss decarbonisation of the electricity system, the need for multidisciplinary research in the context of the energy transition, advice for researchers interested in getting involved in the net-zero effort, and Keane’s background and career path, with time spent in industry and academia, as well as his passion for coffee!

Watch the full interview below:

The full article can be read here: Creating the Future: Prof Andrew Keane on pathways to net zero (

Blog post: A week at the EURO PhD Summer School

By Clíodhna Ní Shé

Clíodhna Ní Shé is a PhD student in the Transport strand of NexSys, based in the School of Business at University College Dublin. Clíodhna’s research focuses on optimisation algorithms, with a focus on electric vehicle routing problems and last mile logistics. A vehicle routing problem is a combinatorial optimisation problem which aims to find the optimal set of routes for a fleet of vehicles to traverse in order to deliver to a given set of customers. Last mile logistics concerns the last stretch of the supply chain, from the last distribution centre to the recipient’s preferred destination point.

In her spare time Clíodhna plays Gaelic Football for Carlow. From 25 to 29 June, she attended the EURO PhD summer school on sustainable supply chains in Hagen, Germany, and writes about her experience below.

Clíodhna Ní Shé


I set out from Dublin to Dusseldorf airport, where I would have to navigate two connecting trains and a bus to get me to my accommodation in Hagen, a city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. I was due to arrive at my accommodation around 12 noon, but due to numerous delays and miscommunications in Deutsche Bahn, I only checked in at 5 o’clock.  Hungry from the arduous trip, I was overjoyed to be greeted by a generous buffet of Lebanese food as I entered the Sunday evening get together. Following mildly awkward introductions, we enjoyed the delicious food in the heat, along with bottles of beer, cola and ‘radler’, a traditional German drink.


Bright and early in the morning, summer school delegates walked from the accommodation to the FernUniversitat, Germany’s only state distance learning university. With over 73,500 students, it is also the largest university in Germany. Throughout the busy week we were treated to lectures and tutorials on designing sustainable supply chains, benchmarking supply chains, and the circular economy. Monday’s lecture and tutorial concentrated on assessing sustainability in supply chains. First, I learned about the relevance and challenges of life cycle sustainability assessments. Following this, I learned about the steps of a life cycle assessment (LCA) and how to interpret the results. I was then introduced to social LCA and how to assess the environmental and social impacts, an interesting aspect of LCA that I hadn’t encountered before. In the afternoons, we were split into groups to work on various case studies. The case studies were introduced to us by representatives from industry partners Volkswagen and Holocene.


As the week went on, lecture focused on the planning of sustainable supply chains and the problems that arise when doing this planning. As part of learning about benchmarking sustainable supply chains, we were also introduced to data envelopment analysis.

A highlight of the trip was the field trip on Tuesday evening that we took to the Koepchenwerk pumped storage power plant, which has been shut down since 1994. We were treated to a very informative tour of the scenic plant. We then walked to an Italian restaurant where we had a lovely meal together.


Thursday’s lecture on the circular economy was particularly interesting as we discussed many possible circular supply chains and the possible advantages and disadvantages of them, as well as their realistic viability.

On this final day of the summer school, we presented our case study presentations to our peers and to the relevant stakeholders.

Returning home

There is no doubt that throughout the week we gained valuable knowledge from experts that guided us through cutting edge quantitative research in this vital field. However, the most valuable information was gained from my peers with whom I collaborated and had the opportunity to share stories and connect with.

Summer School Participants
Summer School Participants

Pictured above: Summer school participants