Friday 25 March 2011

TSB funding secured for in-depth study

I’m really pleased to say that Hastoe has secured funding from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board to monitor the in use performance of our Passivhaus homes.

It was one of only five domestic projects, along with ten non-domestic projects, to be successful in its application to the second round of the Building Performance Evaluation Competition, open until 2012.

We’re now into the next stage of planning for the monitoring of the development which will take place over the next couple of years. This monitoring will enable questions like the following to be explored:

·         Is running the buildings as cheap as it has been designed to be?
·         How much does the energy use vary between homes, and how does the difference break down?
·         Are comfort levels and air quality maintained in all homes through all seasons?
·         Is the solar thermal system effective in providing hot water and heat?
·         Are residents happy with the heating and ventilation systems?

To answer these, we will be looking at:

·         The handover of the properties to residents
·         How residents use the technology, following on from early training with Hastoe
·         Behaviours and steering residents to get the best from their homes
·         Full monitoring every few minutes, every day of
o    the temperature, humidity and CO2 levels in several rooms
o    the external temperature, humidity and sunshine
o    all hot water flows in the heating system, together with the electricity used
o    the quantity of gas, electricity and water used by each house
o    energy consumption of the ventilation system and air flow temperature
o    sub-metering to determine where electricity is being consumed. 

The study will fully monitor one unit from each block; that is one three bedroom house, one two bedroom house, and one flat.  The remaining 11 units will have reduced monitoring that will help provide an even wider knowledge base, and to provide context for the more in-depth research.  The utilities and the internal environment of one room will be monitored; sub-metering and electricity used by the heating and ventilation will be recorded.

Looking at the project so closely will mean we can learn a lot, and share these lessons across the construction and housing sector as the results are collated.

We’ve been supported in the application by Build with CaRe, an international project aiming to help mainstream low carbon construction in the EU.  They’ve been monitoring low energy homes since 2009 and in the East of England partner with the University of East Anglia, West Suffolk College and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

This monitoring project will make it possible to share the true benefit of Passivhaus principles and promote low carbon construction in housing.

You can find out more by seeing our full release here.

Ulrike Maccariello, Development Manager, Hastoe