About Nicola Terry

If you would like a complete CV please drop me an email. There is a complete list of my publications here.

Current occupation

My recent work is in environmental consulting mainly related to household energy use such as low carbon heating off the gas grid for CPRE, calibrating the National Housing Model for DECC, Analysis of household electricity use data for DECC and DeFRA, evaluating the energy saving potential of a range of households behaviours for DECC and researching in thermal insulation and thermal storage materials and applications for buildings, on behalf of the DCLG.

I give workshops, sometimes paid and sometimes not, about energy saving for community groups. The workshops I give most often are 'Energy Efficiency in Homes and Community Buildings' and 'Making the most of your PV panels'.

Voluntary activities

I spend a good deal of time volunteering for local community groups, mainly:

I also give workshops, as mentioned above and I have some experience as co-producer of a community radio science show.


  • BSc (Hons) Open University 1st class (2010) in Environmental Studies
  • MA (Hons) Cambridge 1st class (1984) in Computer Science and Engineering


My career has moved from computer programming, mainly systems and graphics and more lately web toolkits to environmental consulting. These days I use a Mac Mini with Mac OS X.

  • 2015: Consulting for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, about low carbon heating in rural homes, especially off the gas grid. This involved interviewing householders about the measures they had taken (or considered and rejected) to reduce energy bills including insulation and heating systems. We were interested in motivating factors , experiences, and savings made. The work also involved modelling the impact of low carbon heating energy demands on the landscape. You can download the report from CPRE: 'Warm and Green; Achieving affordable, low carbon energy while reducing the impacts on the countryside. See also my blog post Warm and Green.
  • 2015: Consulting for the Department for Energy and Climate Change: Costing Monitoring Equipment for a Longitudinal Energy Survey. The aim was to evaluate options and costs for long term monitoring of households for their energy use, behaviour and air quality. This involved surveying the literature to find out what equipment had been used before and collecting information directly from researchers using surveys and a workshop. It seems there are many aspects to consider in monitoring surveys from installing the equipment to taking it away again. Reliability and ease of data collection are as important as accuracy and resolution. Different strategies are needed for households that do not have broadband internet.
  • 2014: Consulting for Department for Energy and Climate Change: calibration of the NHM. The NHM (National Household Model). The NHM is a software model that estimates the energy use in UK homes according to their size, construction and insulation properties. DECC use this model to predict the impact of policies like the Green Deal. The calibration task is to compare the model results with real bill data and adjust accordingly. Also the calibration requires adjusting the housing stock model to reflect the known status. There are more details on the CAR website.
  • 2013 - 2014: Consulting for Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DeFRA) and Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), analysing Household Electrity Survey data. The task is to investigate potential savings in use of electricial appliances by analysing a dataset collected in 2010/2011 where 250 households had most of their appliances monitored individually for a month. The reports are published on www.gov.uk. The overall summary report is 'Powering the Nation 2'.
  • 2012: Environmental consulting for DECC on the energy saving potential of a range of householder behaviours from turning down the heating thermostat to installing an water efficient shower head, putting the lid on saucepans or opening the fridge door less often. The project was lead by Jason Palmer from Cambridge Architectural Research You can download the report and associated spreadsheet with calculations from www.gov.uk.
  • 2012: Environmental consulting for Department for Communities and Local Government, researching and authoring the report 'DCLG State-of-the-Art Review: Insulation and Thermal Storage Materials'. The topic areas range from perforated bricks to vacuum insulated panels and aerogels, from concrete to advanced phase change materials for storage and from reducing heat loss to running underfloor heating with off peak electricity. The project was lead by Jason Palmer from Cambridge Architectural Research and Ian Cooper from Eclipse Research Consultants. A draft of the report is available on the CAR website.
  • 2010-2011: Researching and writing Energy and carbon emissions: the way we live today
  • 2008-present: Website construction and maintenance (both paid and pro-bono) for several organisations, using wikis (pmwiki) discussion forums (smf) and mailing list software (various).
  • 2002-2009: Application design, development and maintenance for VBN (Virtual Business Network) on their community network website toolkit. Mainly VBScript, with a Microsoft-SQL toolkit but also some C# and javascript. (I mainly program in php or python rather than VBScript these days, thank goodness). I also wrote system and user documentation, recruited and trained new developers. VBN was bought out by Sift in 2007 but I continued to do consulting work for them for a few more years.
  • 1989 - 2001: Systems software design, development and maintenance for Smallworld GIS a geographical information systems toolkit, now owned by General Electric. I started at Smallworld in 1989, almost from the beginning of the company. I developed the graphics library and the data dictionary for the Smallworld proprietary database as well as implementing and maintaining the compiler for the proprietary Magik language. Arthur Chance designed and implemented this language and we both miss it even now. We worked mainly in Magik and C. I documented the language and core systems for application developers.
  • 1984 - 1989: Before that I worked 5 years for Cambridge Interactive Systems, a CAD-CAM company, mainly on graphics and user interfaces.