‘Smart’, remote monitoring of house fabric thermal performance: is it feasible?
Kostas Chasapis, Loughborough
The co-heating test offers a means for estimating the operational heat loss coefficient (HLC) of a building (often residential). The HLC is a metric of fabric thermal performance, and is obtained by measuring the rates of heat input to a building that are required to maintain a given internal / external temperature difference. A drawback of the test in its present form is that the house under consideration needs to be vacated for up to three weeks. A significant advance to this approach was made by Jack (2015) who developed the Loughborough In-Use Heat Balance (LIUHB) method, in which co-heating testing can be carried out without the need for occupants to vacate their homes. Investigations to date have shown that HLC values obtained by the LIUHB method compare well with those from co-heating tests.
The current work presents early findings of an investigation to assess the extent to which the LIUHB might be further developed to become a completely remote technique for estimating the operational thermal performance of houses. Using data gathered from experimental test houses, HLC values obtained from ‘remote’ and ‘partially-remote’ versions of the LIUHB are compared with those from co-heating tests. Results have so far been encouraging, though further validation is required before such an approach could be adopted at scale. However, if the reliability of the approach can be proven, and its range of application determined, the way may be open for inexpensive, large scale, operational performance monitoring of building stocks to become normal practice.