Performance evaluation of homes
With increasingly stringent demands on energy performance in housing, developers and refurbishment professionals now need to know that their designs will realise the desired energy performance.
This section provides easy access to our guidance on how to measure the energy performance of homes and regular updates on all our monitoring activities.
We have developed a whole-house carbon and energy monitoring protocol to determine how the key features of new designs - such as enhanced airtightness, improved fabric insulation levels, renewable energy - contribute to the improved energy performance of newbuild homes.
Standards of thermal insulation in new and refurbished housing have improved greatly. These, coupled with a wider range of construction methods, make the performance of the building envelope a key component in achieving energy efficiency.
Good Homes Alliance monitoring project
We are working in partnership with the Good Homes Alliance (GHA) to support them and their academic partners in an exciting research and development project to monitor and evaluate the performance of a number of high-level sustainable newbuild homes. Our monitoring protocols are being used across four GHA member developer’s sites representing a range of construction types to help understand any gap in design aspiration and as-built performance - monitoring will take place through 2010 and 2011.
The results will allow us to make comparisons between actual performance and design targets such as the Code for Sustainable Homes and SAP, which can be as much as 100% different. They will also better inform us how the homes are actually being used; what the delivered energy use and carbon emissions are in reality; how effective any low and zero carbon technologies are in practice, what the comfort and indoor air quality conditions are like, and how the resident perceives the home.
By working closely with the GHA to disseminate the learnings from the project, we will help enable industry to implement improved design and construction techniques to achieve real carbon dioxide savings; to ensure our low carbon homes are operating well; and are comfortable and healthy to live in.
The project started in October 2009 and the first phase - testing of the building fabric - has now been completed. The next stage - monitoring in use and occupant feedback - started during summer 2010, and results are expected soon following tests over full winter and summer seasons.
"The GHA developers are breaking new ground in volunteering to measure the actual performance of their new homes, especially as many of the protocols for different kinds of monitoring are still being developed. The support of the Energy Saving Trust has been crucial in getting the GHA programme off the ground, and their protocol has been invaluable in helping us move towards an industry standard for energy monitoring." (Jon Bootland, Director - Good Homes Alliance)
Retrofit for the Future
In March 2009, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) launched an SBRI initiative ‘Retrofit for the Future’ under the Low Impact Building Innovation Platform. The challenge is to develop methods to refurbish UK social housing stock to help meet the UK Government target reductions in Greenhouse Gas emissions and energy use.
We have been appointed to provide monitoring evaluation support across the competition. Our activities include conducting ‘spot testing’ for all projects within the competition, installing and checking environmental conditions monitoring equipment, providing advice for competition applicants and collecting and aggregating data in an accessible format. This page provides links to further information and key documents as well as details on how to get in touch with us.
Read our existing homes monitoring guidance , which was used for the TSB Retrofit for the Future competition.
To find out more about the homes being monitored, visit the Retrofit for the Future diaries site.
For general enquiries (not monitoring equipment or arrangements) on the competition please contact the Technology Strategy Board:
- helpline: 01355 272155
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org