His thesis is entitled “Measuring and modelling the energy demand reduction potential of using zonal space heating control in a UK home”.
Arash tells us about his work and time with the LoLo CDT:
What was it about?
The aim of my thesis was to quantify the energy demand reduction potential of using zonal space heating control. Zonal control (ZC) systems comprise of motorised radiator valves with inbuilt thermostats and time control. They offer a solution for room-by-room temperature and time control for low pressure hot water space heating systems which have been conventionally controlled using a single thermostat, a timer and conventional thermostatic radiator valves.
There were three components to the research. Firstly, full-scale experiments were undertaken in a matched pair of instrumented, three bedroom, un-furbished, 1930s, test houses that included equipment to replicate the impacts of an occupant family. Secondly, a dynamic thermal model of the same houses, with the same occupancy pattern, that was calibrated against the measured results. Thirdly, the experimental and model results were assessed to explore how the energy savings might vary in different UK climates or in houses with different levels of insulation.
The results of the experiments indicated that over an 8-week winter period, the house with zonal control used 12% less gas for space heating compared with a conventionally controlled system. This was despite the zonal control system resulting in a 2 percentage point lower boiler efficiency. A calibrated dynamic thermal model was able to predict the energy use, indoor air temperatures and energy savings to a reasonable level of accuracy. Wider scale evaluation showed that the annual gas savings for similar houses in different regions of the UK would be between 10 and 14% but the energy savings in better insulated homes would be lower.
What were the highlights of Lolo?
It was a privilege to study at UK’s premier centre for energy demand research in the built environment. The MRes provided me with the essential knowledge and skills required for research in this area as well as understanding of the wider social and economic context. The test house facilities at Loughborough University and LoLo’s generous research budget allowed me to carry out scientific experiments which made the basis for my PhD research.
What are you doing now?
I have been working as a research associate on the DEFACTO research project at Loughborough University since October 2015. DEFACTO is a six year interdisciplinary project started in 2012. The project examines the way that hundreds of households heat their homes and how the use of digital control enables reduction of energy use. Working on the DEFACTO is a great opportunity for me to continue my research in the area of domestic space heating controls on a large national scale.