Joe Lawley


I am a first year PhD student at the University of Leeds researching Low Carbon Energy Service Demands. My project supervisor is Professor John Barrett and my co-supervisors are Dr Anne Owen and Dr Paul Brockway. I am also working with other University of Leeds academics and students as part of the Leeds branch of the Centre for Research into Energy Demands Solutions (CREDS).

Research interests

Project Outline:

Numerous scenarios that outline a pathway to a low carbon future include ambitious improvements in energy efficiency. These studies identify the multiple benefits of energy efficiency including reducing energy demand, employment, economic growth and addressing fuel poverty. It is often assumed that all, or most, of the technical potential on energy efficiency measures will be realized. It is also assumed that energy efficiency is interchangeable with the energy demand reduction. However, this fails to address many of the complexities associated with delivering the technical potential of energy efficiency. It fails to recognize that improvements in energy productivity is an important driver of growth. While rebound effects within households can be relatively small, in industry, energy efficiency can increase growth and result in even higher energy demand. It fails to address the complex societal and infrastructural system that these efficiency improvements are being conducted. Finally, it fails to address that multiple actors are involved adding to the complexity of the problem. 

This project will apply a broader framing of energy efficiency by considering how to deliver “Low Carbon Energy Service Demands”. These are defined as the service provided by energy, for example mobility, shelter and warmth, nutrition and leisure. This allows a more detailed assessment of how energy demand reduction can be delivered going beyond the traditional framing of energy efficiency. 

The project will understand the energy demand required to deliver UK energy service demands. Using a range of modelling techniques, you will consider how the change or reduction in demand for energy services can contribute to energy demand reduction. Finally, you will consider the wider socio-economic implications of radical changes in delivering energy service demand. 

  • Consider the embodied and operational energy and emissions associated with energy service demand in the UK for the past 20 years. This analysis will use Multi-regional Input-Output models to undertake this task and apply a range of techniques such as structural path analysis to understand the energy demand through the whole supply chain.
  •  Assess the mitigation options in reducing the energy demand on energy service demands. This will involve outlining all the options available and devising assessment criteria on the feasibility of these options to reduce energy demand. 
  • Consider the macro-economic effects of the mitigation. Applying a newly developed macro-economic model, you will consider the effects of your policy options on a range of socio-economic factors. 


  • 2013, BSc, Geography, University of Sheffield, UK, 2:1
  • 2017, MSc, Climate Change and Environmental Policy, University of Leeds, UK, Distinction

Research groups and institutes

  • Energy and Climate Change Mitigation