How to accurately measure the energy performance of a building

In the largest study ever undertaken, properties were shown to thermally underperform by a shocking average of 60%.

The performance gap between predicted and actual performance is well known and brings into question how buildings are monitored and measured. This is currently done by carrying out assessments which use assumed values – and therein lies the problem: ‘assumed’.

Underperforming properties lead to higher carbon emissions and fuel bills for tenants – even pushing some into fuel poverty, which currently affects around 10% of households in England.

Put simply, we need to get serious about measuring the performance of the UK’s housing stock.

What can be done?

Over the past few years Elmhurst Energy Consultancy has been working with Build Test Solutions to develop a low cost, non-invasive and scalable way to accurately measure the thermal performance and overall energy rating of a building: Measured Energy Performance (MEP).

MEP allows you to measure the energy performance of a building while it’s in use, using data gained from temperature sensors, energy meters and weather readings.

The result is an in-depth report that allows you to compare the measured performance of your building against its Energy Performance Certificate and make an educated decision on the next actionable steps.

Measuring retrofit work

“What gets measured gets managed” and this is especially true for retrofit work.

What’s the starting point? What’s the improvement? And which measures are the most cost effective? All are important questions in helping government, housing associations, landlords and homeowners determine the right solution for them.

Recent success with ECO3

Elmhurst was recently involved in the UK’s first Demonstration Action under the ECO3 scheme, where energy suppliers are encouraged to deliver 10% of their obligation through the installation of innovative measures.

This involved measuring the performance of a smart air brick made by technology provider AirEx in over 100 properties. The results showed that Airex reduces whole house heat loss by 12% – 16% and ground floor heat loss by 20% – 23% which is a fantastic outcome for Airex and the ECO3 scheme.

The future

The UK’s 29 million homes account for around 14% of greenhouse gas emissions so there’s no doubt the future is retrofit. But we should be able to accurately monitor its impact, otherwise it won’t be measured and it won’t be managed.

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