Energy Performance of Traditionally Constructed Scottish Dwellings

Traditionally constructed dwellings are predominantly of solid stone wall construction and hold very different challenges and opportunities to that of new-build cavity construction, as the principles of heritage and building conservation should be applied. These dwellings are commonly perceived as energy inefficient, though this project aims to investigate that perception. The project is divided into three research themes:

  • Energy modelling: looking at the ability of various energy performance methods and models to adequately reflect the effect of high thermal mass on the overall energy performance of the dwelling.
  • Occupancy: investigating the difference in energy consumption with different occupancy profiles, focusing primarily on appliance use and assumed heating system demand for each occupancy type.
  • Extensions: focusing on the effects of adding a modern extension to a traditionally constructed cottage. Both steady state and dynamic simulation models will be used, and the effects of different adjoining constructions will be considered, alongside the impact on energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

Funded by EPSRC and Historic Scotland, the project will add to Historic Scotland's knowledgebase on the energy performance of traditional construction, and examines the ability of the built heritage to play a role in mitigating climate change and adapting to a changing climate, whilst maintaining its unique characteristics. [Vicky Ingram: vgi1@hw.ac.uk]

Energy consumption patterns in non-domestic buildings

Energy use can vary significantly across different building types in the non-domestic sector. While total energy consumption is a useful indicator of building energy use, hourly energy demand profiles (particularly electrical) can indicate what type of activity is being carried out within a building, and identify poor energy practices (such as high standby loads). With a particular focus on office and school buildings, this project is compiling a database from a range of sources (including City of Edinburgh Council) that will show the different patterns of energy use in these building. The work will use this empirical data to investigate the relationship between these hourly patterns of energy use and parameters of the building, such as floor area, occupancy, climate (via in-situ weather stations) and activity characteristics. [Richard Kilpatrick: rark4@hw.ac.uk]

Community co-operative wind farms

Renewable energy and particularly wind power are considered in Government policy as a significant means of decarbonising energy production and so contribution to carbon emissions abatement. Despite the Government commitment in expanding wind power generation and despite having the best wind resources of Europe the United Kingdom lags behind several European countries in wind energy installed capacity. One of the reasons of this slow development of wind energy is the local controversy arisen by wind farm proposals In this PhD research we look at the model of community owned wind farm co-operatives. We investigate if this wind farm ownership model might soften local opposition and increase local consensus towards proposed wind farms. Further, this model implies an involvement of the co-operative members in the internal democratic process of co-operative administration. Such engagement might be considered as a ‘citizenship behaviour' which could be expression of citizenship practices conceptualized in literature as ‘environmental citizenship'. The relevance of environmental citizenship and other attitudinal and contextual factors in influencing social acceptability of wind farms is investigated. [Giuseppe Pellegrini-Masini: gp89@hw.ac.uk]

Life cycle carbon assessment of energy improvements in offices

The embodied carbon involved with the construction of large office buildings can be considerable, and arguably even more important when assessing low-energy buildings with low operational energy. This project aims to use real building construction data to estimate the embodied carbon involved with constructing various designs of office building, while modelling the same buildings to estimate the likely operational energy use and carbon emissions. [Mohammed Khasreen: M.Khasreen@hw.ac.uk]

Decision-making in non-domestic traditional buildings

When providing guidance for low energy building refurbishments, it is vital to understand the various decision-making processes that are used in industry to ensure such projects are both viable and successful. In collaboration with Faithful and Gould, this project will identify the various decision support methods that are available, and clarify their role in ensuring that low-carbon refurbishments can be effective in traditional non-domestic building projects. [Megan Strachan: mes8@hw.ac.uk]