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Providing better estimates of solid wall insulation savings

Improving understanding of solid wall heat losses and occupant behaviour pre- and post-insulation.

Improving the energy efficiency of Britain’s housing stock forms a major part of the UK Government’s energy and climate change policy.  Progress on insulating hot water cylinders, roofs and wall cavities has been significant however programmes will now have to start addressing some of the more challenging improvement measures if the significant efficiency gains are to be made in the future.

Insulating the solid wall housing stock is one of the greatest challenges for energy efficiency policy.  It also potentially offers some of the most significant savings, as there are more than 7 million solid wall dwellings in Great Britain.  Policies to deliver this work, such as the Green Deal and ECO, rely on modelled estimates of savings from solid wall insulation. It is therefore essential that the models used to provide these estimates are based on robust, up to date and accurate data.

Questions exist around the assumptions used when predicting savings from solid wall insulation.  In particular there is a gap between calculated predictions and actual realised energy savings following the application of this measure.

Solid walls savings data

This project is answering those questions through a collection of work packages, each designed to address a particular aspect of the performance gap.

Work Package 1 – Literature review

A search of existing literature on the subjects relevant to the study. The objective is to inform the design of the research conducted in this project and to avoid unnecessary duplication. The literature review has been completed and can be downloaded from the 'downloads' section of this page.

Work Package 2 – Understanding heat losses from solid walls

A field survey to investigate in detail the thermal performance of walls of 80 dwellings and a laboratory study of the thermal performance of specially constructed wall sections in a hot-box.

Work package 3 – Pre- and post-insulation survey: The performance gap

The collection of energy consumption data, together with other on-site physical measurements, from a sample of 30 dwellings pre- and post-installation of solid wall insulation.

Work Package 4 – Methodologies for measuring and calculating U-values

The validation of the current best practice methodologies for measuring U-values in-situ and an investigation into the method and assumptions used for calculating U-values from the physical properties of the wall.

Work package 5 – Monitoring and investigating unintended consequences

The production of a guidance document for assessing and monitoring unintended consequences.

Work Package 6 – A rapid and reliable in-situ U-value measurement tool

A competition to design a tool that can be used by Green Deal assessors to measure wall U-values in-situ and the construction of a database that can eventually be built into RDSAP to allow assessors to vary default U-value assumptions.