Highfield, Bicester

DECoRuM® Carbon Counting and Carbon Mapping

The DECoRuM mapping process was used to create carbon maps and identify the carbon reduction opportunities using retrofit measures for 374 households in Highfield, Bicester as a part of the LEAF (Local Energy Assessment Fund) funded GLEE (Grassroots Leads Energy Efficiency in Highfield) project.


The GLEE project was aimed towards providing all Bicester residents and community organisations with resources, information, experience and case studies on how to plan for community wide carbon saving measures in the home. Development of the GIS-based DECoRuM® map of housing stock at the neighbourhood level will help strategic planning for widespread measures. In the wider outlook, the project has helped to create a trained core of experts within the community who will continue to offer voluntary advice to the community, even after the completion of the project. The Highfield area around the Brookside primary school in West Bicester was chosen as the case study area due to its diverse mix of house types and ages.

Unique Features

Data for the DECoRuM® energy model is obtained from Participant questionnaires, Walk by surveys, Thermal imaging, Digimap Ordnance Survey and Google Earth. Assumptions on wall types, fabric U-values, energy consumption and behaviour are based on age, built form, walk-by surveys and individually collected data. This data was used along with English Housing Survey statistics, UK Building Regulations, Local Authority records and mapping data from Address point/ Ordnance survey to create a database of the housing stock in the case study region and triangulate results from the model.

Infrared Imaging is a non-intrusive building diagnostic procedure which detects the magnitude of thermal (infra-red) radiation emitted by objects and helps detect areas of heat loss, air leakage, gaps in insulation continuity etc. from patterns in spatial temperature variation. Almost 300 dwellings were thermally imaged to create a street by street thermal image map. The images were of great interest to the residents during the Eco-Bicester day.

The database of individual dwelling characteristics, collected through the methods described above, was fed into the DECoRuM® energy model to calculate the estimated annual energy consumption, carbon emissions and running cost per dwelling.


The potential of energy efficiency retrofit measures were modelled for the area in the form of incremental packages, where measures were implemented and impacts were measured based on the existing characteristics of each house. The retrofit measures which are likely to be a part of the ‘Green Deal Equivalent’ package, as well as, the homes eligible for the proposed Green Deal Equivalent package were identified. The impacts of the retrofit packages were mapped in terms of reduction in energy consumption, CO2 emissions and running costs. In addition, analysis of the cost effectiveness of individual measures and packages of measures for the neighbourhood has been carried out separately.

The results were communicated to local residents through weekly workshops and the finale event, ‘Eco Bicester’ day.

The DECoRuM® maps created for Highfield show trends of energy consumption and potential for retrofit based on a variety of variables such as house type and age and are a valuable resource to inform and guide policy makers. The strength of the process lies in its ability to make quick urban level estimates of carbon emissions and reduction potentials based on externally available data.




  • Gupta, R., Cherian, R., Gregg, M., (2012), Final Report: DECoRuM mapping for Highfield, Bicester


Workshops & Conferences

  • DECoRuM - Introduction for GLEE Workshop GLEE Workshop, Highfield Dated: March 2012
  • DECoRuM - Preparing for the Green Deal — Highfield case study, EVALOC International conference, Oxford Dated: September 2012


  • Baseline carbon mapping - LEAF Bicester Dated: 30th March 2012
  • Refurbishment packages - LEAF Bicester Dated: 30th March 2012


Prof Rajat Gupta

Low Carbon Building Group

School of Architecture
Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP