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About me

******My career in construction has taken me from building labourer to plumber to chartered building services engineer with my current work focused on post-doctoral research in energy and buildings. I have worked on all types of construction projects ranging from housing to hospitals, offices and factories. My career has seen an eclectic mix of design, installation, consultancies and academia and provides me with a unique insight into the construction industry. My introduction to lecturing was through teaching on a women's plumbing course, since when I have lectured in Further and Higher education, guest lectured and presented in Britain and internationally. My research has provided me with the opportunity to present my work to the European Commissioners, the European Social Fund, the EU Construction Social Partners, the ETUI and the British Council.


As a chartered engineer I specialise in building physics, building services engineering, low energy design and renewable technologies. I am based in the Department of Property and Construction where I teach on under and post graduate modules. I am also engaged in cross-Faculty lecturing where I am the module leader for Principles of Environmental Design on the MSc in Architecture and Environmental Design. I teach and supervise at all academic levels from undergraduate to PhD.


Current Research

My research is centred on low energy construction, building services and renewable energy systems, specialising in heat pump installations. I have acted as a reviewer for DECC and EST UK heat pump trial publications and analysis of the RHPP heat pump field trials on behalf of DECC (BEIS). I am developing research with ProBE on vocational education and training for low energy construction (VET4LEC), the concept of 'thermal literacy' and on worker agency in promoting a 'Just Transition' to a low carbon future.

Research Centre

ProBE Centre for the Study of the Production of the Built Environment


2016 - 2017 SSHRC Green Transitions in the Built Environment. A $50,000 project with Simon Fraser University in British Columbia mapping ‘Green Transition’ projects and proposals for construction in Europe and Canada.

2016 – 2017 Green Transitions in the US and Europe: Breadth, Depth and Worker Agency, a $40,000 research project with Colorado State University, the Policy Studies Institute and ProBE.

2014 - 2021 SSHRC Canada. Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective (ACW). Colin is a 'co-investigator' in the ACW research project. This $2.5 million grant, with equivalent match funding, is to investigate the way in which Canadian workplaces are adapting to climate change and will draw on the experience of trade unions and other stakeholders including international partners. The research will run from 2014 to 2021 and will involve developing work-based strategies for "greening work" and a doctoral programme for social climate change experts. The University of Westminster ProBE research group will focus on the role of the Built Environment and the broader International context.

2014 - 16 DECC, UK. Analysis of data from heat pumps installed via the Renewable Heat Premium (RHPP) Payment Scheme. Colin is a member of the RAPID-HPC research management team (Research and Analysis on Performance and Installation Data - Heat Pump Consortium) for the analysis of what is currently the world's largest monitored heat pump field trial. The consortium, funded by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) includes the University of Westminster, University College London, Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) and SP Technical Institute Sweden. The research programme will run from December 2014 to March 2016.

2010 - 11. EU Progress Fund. European Retrofit Network, Retrofit methodologies for social housing and their VET requirements. Colin is the principle author of the retrofit methodologies report with an analysis of shallow to deep retrofit and its knowledge and skills components.

Research students

Currently supervising PhDs:

Towards nearly Zero Energy Buildings in Lebanon: bioclimatic design and experimental building strategies for energy demand reduction in new built/construction.

Fostering Deeper Engagement between Construction Companies and Higher Education Institutions.

Professional bodies

Chartered Engineer, Engineering Council; Member of the Charter Institution of Building Services Engineers; Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Construction Labour Research

CLR News 4/2015, guest editors Colin Geeson & John Calvert, 'Construction Labour, work and climate change", 82pp.

Gleeson C., Calvert J (2015) Editorial: Just Transition in Construction Labour, work and climate change.  CLR News 4, pp4-9

Gleeson C. (2015) On the Energy [R]evolution: sustainable world energy outlook. Construction Labour, work and climate change. CLR News 4, pp30-38

Gleeson C (2015) Review essay: The Capitalocene Part I and Part II, by Jason W Moore in Construction Labour, work and climate change.. CLR News 4, pp60-65

CLR News 1/2014, sub-editor Colin Gleeson, 'Energy Saving Construction', 60pp

Gleeson C. (2014) 'Closing the gap between design and performance - the current debate' in Climate change and construction labour, CLR News 1, pp6-13

CLR News 4/2011, sub-edited Linda Clarke and Colin Gleeson, 'Climate change and construction labour', 91pp, ISSN 1997-1745

'Introduction' with L. Clarke in Climate change and construction labour, CLR News 4, 6-7

'Retrofitting housing' in Climate change and construction labour, CLR News 4, 6-7

'Less is more: energy security after oil'; Olivier and Simmonds review essay in Climate change and construction labour, CLR News 4, 6-7

'What do we need to know? The state of Canadian research on work, employment and climate change'; Lipsig-Mumme book review in Climate change and construction labour, CLR News 4, 6-7

Conference, symposia and interview presentations

(2016) Labour and Low Energy Buildings: the energy performance gap as Social Practice. International Labour Process Conference, Berlin, 4-6 April.

(2014) The neglected role of labour in low energy construction: 'thermal literacy' and the difference between design intention and performance In: Work in a Warming World: Labour, Climate Change, and Social Struggle. Toronto, Canada. 29 Nov - 01 Dec

(2014) UK-Indonesia Researcher Network. British Council conference at the Institut Teknologi Bandung, 24-27 March

(2013) Sustainable construction: what is in it for worker representatives, workers health & safety and working conditions? Key-note presentation to 'Sustainable construction - or how to develop a social, long-term, environmental friendly industry'. ETUI Brussels, 5 November.

(2013) The performance gap, vocational education and training for low energy construction (VET4LEC). Presentation to Innovation in Built Environment Education (iBEE), University of Westminster, 29-30 May.

(2013) The performance gap, how far do outcomes meet expectations? Presentation to 'Refurbishing Britain'. Ecobuild London, 7 March.

(2012) Colin Gleeson, University of Westminster talks about new "green" employment opportunities. Interview for European Social Fund, 9 March. [view online]

(2012) Bolt on skills for low energy construction. Presentation to 'EU New skills for green jobs' project, Marchmont Centre, Exeter University, 1 March.

(2011) Training for Retrofit. EU Trainbuild project. Presentation to European Commissioners, Brussels, 11 October.

(2010) Introduction to low energy construction. Skills and Low Carbon Construction symposium, University of Westminster, 5 November.


For details of all my research outputs, visit my WestminsterResearch profile.