Stirling Howieson


  • United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Generating electricity from solar concentration
Water desalination and purification via solar concentration
Pyrolysis of waste streams using solar concentration
Refrigeration using solar energy
Low carbon design strategies
Optimising the conflict between indoor air quality and energy efficiency
Indoor air quality and asthma

Personal profile

Personal Statement

Dr Stirling Howieson's research falls into two main silos:

(1) Housing and health - Since the mid 1980's his research has looked at:

(a) the effect of cold indoor temperatures on excess winter deaths in Scotland

(b) the effect of condensation dampness and the  associated growth of mould fungal spores on occupant respiratory  health

(c) the role of high humidity on house dust mite colonisation and proliferation leading to a 6 fold increase in childhood asthma in Scotland over a period of 25 years

(d) the role of indoor air quality (IAQ) and a variety of common in door toxic pollutants in additive, synergistic and antagonistic combination on occupant health

(e) the role of domestic ventilation rates and mechanical ventilation with heat reclamation to improve indoor air quality without a significant running cost penalty.

(f) the design of housing to optimise the conflict between IAQ and energy efficiency using hygroscopic materials, re-active ventilation regimes (CO2 sensors) and component modularisation with 'just in time' site delivery.

(2) Exploitation of solar energy for food processing, electricity generation, water filtration and desalination, refrigeration and converting waste streams to clean burn bio-char

(a) The Sunstore Powerpan is a hybrid solar/biochar thermo-elctric appliance, won the Gran Prix and Gold Medal at the 2019 Geneva World Invention Exposition. It has also gained accreditation by the solar Impulse Foundation and its deployment in off-grid communities in sub-Saharan Africa is the subject of an award by Innovate UK under the Energy Catalyst 8 programme. 

(b) The 'Sunstore 5' under development, are a range of appliances that use  solar concentration via a unique Fresnel lens design to provide clean and desalinated water, pyrolyse waste streams to bio-char and provide heat treatment for agricultural products. A ground fridge that is used in conjunction with the Powerpan can also provide vaccine storage facilities for off-grid communities.

In the recent REF, Dr Howieson contributed to the department's impact statement that was scored at 100% by the assessment panel. This elevated the research impact to be the top  performing unit in the cognate area in the UK. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Housing and Health - are our homes causing the asthma pandemic?, UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE

Award Date: 1 Jan 2003

Master of Philosophy, Towards a thermal standard, UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE

Award Date: 1 Jan 1985

Bachelor of Architecture, Heriot-Watt University

Award Date: 1 Jan 1979


  • asthma
  • indoor air quality
  • bioclimatic architecture
  • solar ovens
  • public health
  • thermo-electricity


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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