Scientist and government advisor on energy

Born: April 11, 1948;

Died: August 31, 2016

Dr Brian Anderson, who has died aged 68, was a respected scientist and government advisor on energy. He advised two central government departments on building regulations and energy efficiency, as well as other organisations in the public and private sectors and became an internationally acknowledged expert in the field of thermal insulation. Popular with his colleagues, he was widely seen as a guru in his field.

Spending his entire career at the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in East Kilbride, Dr Anderson’s work contributed to the continuing development of the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP), the UK Government’s recommended system for measuring energy ratings for lighting, space and water heating in domestic homes.

He was responsible for developing the concept, methodology and calculation process which lie at the core of the BRE Domestic Energy Model (BREDEM), the system which measures the energy use and fuel requirements of dwellings based on their characteristics.

It is widely used in research work, particularly stock modelling. BRE developed the Housing Stock Modelling Service and produced its first set of models in 2003. The service has grown in popularity and is now used by more than 230 local authorities across the UK.

Dr Anderson’s work also contributed to the development of SAP - the methodology of both SAP and BREDEM share some features but the latter is better suited to certain analysis tasks.

Such was his expertise in the field that Dr Anderson advised two central government departments on the building regulations and on energy efficiency matters, as well as other organisations in the public and private sectors. Working tirelessly behind the scenes for policy implementation, he spent more than 30 years quietly ensuring that the tools were available to the market to show energy performance compliance for domestic dwellings.

Brian Anderson was born in Edinburgh in 1948. His father was a solicitor and his mother an artist and art teacher. He had a sister, Jane, who lives in Edinburgh.

He was educated at Loretto’s after which he went on to study at St Andrews University from where he graduated in 1970 with a BSc.2(i) Honours. He then went on to complete his PhD, Physics, at Nottingham University in 1973.

The following year he started working at BRE’s Scottish laboratory in East Kilbride - where he would stay for his entire career.

In the mid 1980s “head office” tried to persuade him to come and work at the organisation’s headquarters in Watford. But Dr Anderson politely declined, content to stay where he was.

In 1992 the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (of which he was a member) awarded him its Bronze Medal for his publications. There were over 30 publications and papers in all on a range of topics concerned with thermal performance of dwellings. They are publications that have guided, informed and enabled governments and generations of engineers, architects, builders, teachers and students to understand and construct better performing homes.

Dr Anderson was involved in so many areas of research over the years that his name and the papers he produced were known and referred to by thousands of people around the world. At BRE he was known as the “thermal properties guru”.

An extremely popular man, quiet and unassuming, he never married. Some of his many friends said his was a classic case of being “married to the job.” Though that may have been the case, he still found time to indulge in hobbies and pastimes beyond the workplace.

Passionate about music, he played violin and piano. He also played the organ in his local church in Kinross. He was an accomplished singer and a member of Glasgow Cathedral Choral Society.

He was a life member of two Scottish steam railway companies and an active member of the National Trust for Scotland.

But it is for his achievements at the BRE that he will best be remembered. His BREDEM energy model is the basis for all energy calculations in the UK and one of his publications, Conventions for U-Values Calculations, published in 2006, is used throughout the construction industry (indeed, he was working on an updated version of this when he died).

Though he retired from his full-time post some time ago, he still worked part-time at BRE East Kilbride until his sudden death in August.

Dr Anderson is survived by his sister Jane, her husband and their two children.