Everyone in the LoLo community at both the Loughborough School of Civil and Building Engineering and the UCL Energy Institute would like to congratulate Ella Quigley on passing her viva with minor corrections on 25 February 2016.
What was it about?
My research concerned the in-use performance of light-gauge steel modular construction used for residential purposes. The aim was to investigate ways to reduce the in-use energy consumption of new buildings, while ensuring thermal comfort.
Data were collected from two case study buildings in the UK, one in Loughborough and the other in London, using a variety of methods including building energy and environmental monitoring, blower door tests, infrared thermal imaging, inspections, and a detailed review of the construction documentation. A particular concern for thermally lightweight construction is the risk of overheating; therefore I undertook static and adaptive overheating analyses.
I identified specific weaknesses in the design, construction and operation of the case study buildings resulting in increased energy use and poor thermal comfort, particularly overheating in the London study. The severity of the overheating observed warrants further investigation, chiefly in the tallest modular buildings.
One important finding was that there was a consistency in the modular construction, that it was repeatable in nature, that the specific weaknesses identified were predictable and recurring. Many of these weaknesses were small and could be eradicated with careful attention. The findings suggest that repeatable, consistent buildings can easily be achieved using modular construction, but that does not automatically translate into good energy and thermal performance, however the construction type could be used to consistently provide good energy and thermal performance if due attention be given to the details.
What were the highlights of LoLo?
One of the main reasons I joined the centre was because it allowed me to study a Master’s before the PhD. I believe this is an excellent system for developing well-rounded researchers, it allowed me to better understand and plan my PhD, and it provided the opportunity to learn and develop skills in addition to the PhD. I also liked the close links with stakeholders; it made me feel that the research within the centre is closely linked to the needs of the industry, and that it could have direct impact upon the industry. The final highlight has been the people, both researchers and academics, all incredibly friendly, intelligent and motivated people.
What are you doing now?
Now that I have completed me PhD I have focused my attention writing research papers about overheating and energy use in steel modular residential buildings. I am also starting to consider my future job opportunities and looking for an interesting career in building performance and sustainability.
Offsite Modular Construction and Low Energy, Comfortable Homes – thesis download pending