Mandarin is a London-based company providing high-quality consultancy and research services for organisations working in energy efficiency policy.

Mandarin Research is run by Nicola O'Connor

picture of nicola


Nicola worked for the UK government for ten years as a senior policy advisor, including five years in sustainability and energy efficiency policy, before leaving to set up Mandarin Research Limited.

Mandarin’s mission is to promote the use of good information, evidence and strategic thinking in the energy efficiency sector. Mandarin therefore indulges Nicola´s “geek” tendencies.

More background:
  • Nicola is currently working on projects relevant to the development of the Zero Carbon Standard for new homes, including work on the definition of zero carbon, assessing overheating risk, developing effective ventilation strategies, and on the costs associated with building zero carbon homes.
  • Led policy development work on technical updates to the Energy Companies Obligation Order 2012 to ensure certain aspects of the ECO work as intended and reflect changes in the wider policy landscape (e.g. to building regulations).
  • Led the Green Deal measures policy team, working closely with major energy efficiency industry sectors and the broader supply chain to design a policy which allowed a wide range of measures to be included the Green Deal, including examining how technologies are modelled in SAP and RdSAP (and SBEM). 
  • Worked with and sometimes chaired industry groups such as the Green Deal stakeholder forum on measures and the “manufacturers secondees” team.
  • Championed broader messages on energy efficiency measures such on the appropriate sequencing of installations, whole-house retrofit, and on preventing unintended problems, such as condensation and mould and overheating.
  • Assisted with work to ensure Green Deal policy was more sensitive to the specific characteristics and dynamics of older and traditional buildings.
  • Instigated and led work on the “performance gap” to help ensure “real world” energy savings were used as the basis for Green Deal finance.
  • Assisted with recommending updates to SAP and RdSAP for the Green Deal, Including adding new measures, amendments to the order of recommendations and the creation of the Occupancy Assessment.
  • Championed and led policy input into a major research project on the performance of solid walls and solid wall insulation.
  • Worked with the Low Carbon Construction IGT, including on the performance gap and broader supply chain issues, as well as leading work to assess supply chain capacity more generally.
  • Led a team of civil servants and leading academics to deliver a comprehensive report on the future of land use in the UK - the first of its kind for 50 years.
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