BRE has carried out first stage tests on a prototype device for rapid and accurate measurement of heat losses (U-values) from solid wall homes. Created by Finnish University Arcada with input from Salford University, the device was entered into a BRE competition aimed at developing viable assessment tools to help improve the thermal performance of homes of this kind.
The UK has over 7 million solid wall homes and insulating them is a major challenge. Understanding heat losses from solid walls is vital to determining the likely energy, cost and carbon savings associated with solid wall insulation, however to date, solution policies have been based on modelled estimates of these savings.
The Arcada-Salford device moves the process forward considerably by focusing on robust, up to date and accurate real world data collected in situ by energy assessors.
Supported by funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (formerly the DECC), the tool underwent a laboratory and field-based test programme focused on measurement accuracy and speed, ease of use and financial viability. With refinements identified for incorporation into the second phase model, the tests will help drive further innovation, ultimately making significant improvements to the measurements that are critical for effective retrofit programmes in the future.
Commenting on the outcomes, Matthew Custard, Principal Consultant at BRE said: “The tests were very encouraging and we’re keen to see next stage development. These devices have the potential to differentiate wall performance and with investment could enable a more informed and effective approach to the development of thermal improvement strategies.”
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NOTES TO EDITOR
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