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Taking 3D stock: modelling the building stock and its use of energy

14 December, 2020

Taking 3D stock: modelling the building stock and its use of energy

Tadj Oreszczyn

Clare Downing

Aimee K Eeles

Case study   Buildings & Energy

Tadj Oreszczyn, Clare Downing and Aimee Eeles

It has been difficult for government and local authorities to find out exactly why buildings are performing badly in energy terms – because the stock is so large and the uses of buildings so varied, for example a shop on the ground floor with a domestic flat above it.

CREDS researchers at University College London (UCL) Energy Institute have developed a method over the last ten years called ‘3DStock’. It models the existing building stocks of cities and regions in great detail and in three dimensions, in order to help assess energy performance. We started with the non-domestic stock of industrial, commercial and public buildings, and have now included the domestic stock of houses and flats, as well as mixed-use buildings like flats over shops. The research and its applications are summarised in a paper in Buildings and Cities.

The Greater London Authority (GLA) and London Boroughs are now using the London Building Stock Model (constructed from the 3DStock method) to tackle fuel poverty and improve the energy efficiency of the capital’s building stock. It was launched in September 2020, including a feature in the Evening StandardOpens in a new tab. LBSM covers around 3.5 million properties across the capital and its purpose is to help identify poorly performing buildings so that they can be prioritised for retrofit work to reduce their energy use resulting in money and emissions savings.

3DStock models are being used to support energy planning by other cities including Sheffield, as well as in consulting work for BEIS, and the NHS plan for net zeroOpens in a new tab. For the GLA the team have also developed the London Solar Opportunity Map, which shows the potential output from solar electricity (photovoltaic) and solar hot water installations on all roofs and areas of open land.

Since 2018 this work has been undertaken as a part of the CREDS Buildings & Energy theme.

Project Team

Future plans

The UCL team are currently working on domestic retrofit programmes for the London Boroughs of Sutton and Islington and plans to take the modelling to the entire UK, to support national energy planning. This will provide a tool to local authorities, industry and the professions throughout the country, with which they can plan retrofit strategies for buildings towards net zero. This UK 3DStock model could supplement or replace existing national domestic and non-domestic models; allow energy labelling and benchmarking schemes to be reviewed and strengthened; and support the rollout of renewable technologies at the scale of buildings and sites.


The building stock model that you have created is a significant and hugely welcomed contribution to the research community (and the policy community too). The data and new knowledge arising from this are extraordinary. Richard Lorch, Editor of Buildings and Cities

Sources of information

Publication details

Oreszczyn, T., Downing, C. and Eeles, A.K. 2020. Taking 3D stock: modelling the building stock and its use of energy. Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions. Oxford, UK. CREDS case study.

Banner photo credit: Alireza Attari on Unsplash