Katharine van Someren

Katharine van SomerenProject Title:

Understanding the gap between designer's intent and users' experiences:

Lighting and occupancy in higher education

Partner Organisation:

University of Reading Estates & Facilities, Sustainability Team

First Supervisor:

Dr Phil Beaman, School of Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences

Second Supervisor:

Professor Li Shao, School of Construction Management & Engineering

Industry supervisor:

Dan Fernbank, Energy Manager

Project Description:

This project is in the final stages and has focused on people centred lighting and occupancy in practice and in field. We have been investigating lighting energy efficiency installations on the Whiteknights campus to understand the metrics for carbon emissions, annual power consumption and operating hours in corridors, classrooms and offices. This has led to new empirical evidence of the lighting performance gap being measured and published; and how further savings can be made through commissioning, this work has embedded the practice of using small data loggers into industry processes. Understanding the gap between the designer's intent and users' experiences we conducted semi structured interviews with staff and found that a lack of continuity in light switch control design and choice, and piecemeal upgrades affected end users.

Outputs to industry have organically evolved over the course of the project since inception from an estate wide monitoring and targeting strategy to a more specific research focus on lighting and occupancy. Contribution to company so far has included: writing an estate wide metering strategy for new gas, water and electricity meters in 30 Whiteknights campus buildings 2013/4; contributing to Estates & Facilities Lighting Control specifications and separately to the classroom specifications; training and supporting the Sustainability Team to use data loggers in field before upgrades are carried out and afterwards to use empirical data in carbon emissions metric calculations.

Project Poster:

Download Katharine's project poster (PDF - 315KB)

Student Profile:

Since graduating from University of Bath with a Physics degree my desire to study and work towards a Doctorate has been ever present. My surveying career and studies to date have led me to the built environment through planning & development predominantly within the commercial sector. Working client side in commercial property development companies allowed me to gain an insight into the interactions between landlord & tenant where sustainable and energy efficient solutions were sought in new build developments. The opportunity to research and study towards a more people orientated route to achieving energy efficiency is exciting and was one of my main reasons for taking the studentship.

Associated/Relevant Research Groups/Centres:

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Expected Completion Date:

December 2017

Why did you choose Reading?:

The location of the campus grounds within acres of greenspace with woodlands, meadows & gardens was definitely a factor in choosing Reading. The University's research into meteorology, climate change and construction management & engineering interests me and the TSBE Centre brought together a wide range of research areas with available studentships.



I graduated with from the University of Bath with a BSc (Hons) Physics degree in 2003. Returning home to Guernsey I worked full time & studied part time through the College of Estate Management distance learning programme to achieve a Distinction in a Post Graduate Surveying Diploma. I recorded my Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) hours at the same time as studying and in October 2010 sat my Final Interview to become a Member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors through the Planning & Development Route.
BSc (Hons) PGDipSurv MRICS



Journal papers

Users' experiences of lighting controls: A case-study

KL van Someren, C Philip Beaman, L Shao. SAGE & CIBSE Journal: Lighting Research & Technology, First published date: May-19-2017, Open Access, DOI: 10.1177/1477153517709063

Calculating the lighting performance gap in higher education corridors

Katharine Louise Van Someren, Philip Beaman and Li Shao

Awaiting review, submitted May 2017 to open access journal Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering- Indoor Environment, Research Topic: Energy and Built Environment

Conference papers

Analysing the lighting performance gap between predicted and actual carbon dioxide emissions in academic classrooms Katharine Louise Van Someren, Philip Beaman and Li Shao

Accepted for presentation June 2017, Sustainable Energy Technologies conference, Bologna Italy, July 2017

Prompting light switching behaviours in corridors and offices in a UK university campus

van Someren, K.L., Beaman, C.P., Tetlow, R., Shao, L. Accepted and presented at International Commission on Illumination (CIE) 28th Session of the Commission, 2 July 2015

Other - Industry outputs

Lighting control workshop for Estates & Facilities April 2016

Teaching outputs

Assisting Dr Stefan Thor-Smith with practice based environmental loggers for MSc module Indoor Environmental Quality and Wellbeing



I am a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors APC Mentor and Assessor helping other graduates progress through to membership. Currently I am assisting a University of Reading MSc Project Management graduate with the APC process. Having recently become an RICS APC Assessor I interviewed candidates at the spring 2017 Planning & Development session at Heathrow.


Things to do now


Page navigation


Search Form

A-Z lists