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Thermal performance of historic buildings

 

Improving thermal performance of historic buildings

The building sector consumes more than 40% of the total energy in the EU, which is comparable to that of the transport sector and more than twice that of the industrial sector. In Ireland, there are an estimated 1.46 million permanently occupied dwellings of which 930,000 houses were built before the building regulations were introduced in 1991 and 350,000 have no wall insulation.

This project investigates the heat loss through walls and draughts with a view to identify suitable retrofitting materials and products appropriate for historic buildings. The project measures, in situ U-values of a range of insulation applied to historic brick walls of historic structures. It monitors the moisture in the walls and undertakes laboratory testing of insulation materials. In addition the work investigates air tightness by measuring draughts and identifying potential solutions.

In recent years, simulation programs that establish heat transfer through built fabrics have become commonly used, however, often, these do not relate to reality as energy loss through exterior walls is still not clearly known, and in-situ measured and calculated values often differ by up to 50%. There is a scarcity of empirical data to demonstrate the actual benefit of energy efficient retrofitting in the residential sector. This research will fill these gaps. It will accurately measure in-situ heat loss contributing towards a better understanding of in-situ performance of building materials and retrofitting techniques. Retrofitting is commonly considered as the most significant market for the construction industry in the coming years.

 

Project coordinator: Associate Prof. Sara Pavia

Funded by: IRCSET and the OPW