New toolkit to reduce the energy performance gap in new homes

Britain has a new energy performance improvement toolkit prepared by researchers from a sustainable charity. Will Worley explains in an article on the buildings.co.uk website.

 

Toolkit launched to improve energy efficiency of new-build homes

The Building Energy Performance Improvement Toolkit is the result of a four year-long research project, backed by £1.5m of government funding.

A new service has been launched to help make new homes more energy efficient by addressing issues arising during their construction.

The new Building Energy Performance Improvement Toolkit (BEPIT) is the result of a four year-long research project, backed by £1.5m of government funding.

The kit aims to reduce the energy performance gap in new homes, and has been particularly shown to improve air tightness.

Researchers from sustainable charity Bioregional said they came up with the programme after they investigated why new builds often are not as energy efficient as they are designed to be.

Using a low-carbon housing project in Oxfordshire as a test site, researchers analysed and documented the construction process, from its early material procurement stages to completion.

They also worked with a number of partners, including developer A2Dominion and Loughborough University’s School of Civil and Building Engineering.

The researchers found energy inefficiency stemmed from a collection of minor errors made throughout the construction process, culminating in a significant energy performance gap.

Tests using the toolkit have shown a 40% improvement in air tightness and while further testing was needed to prove BEPIT’s effectiveness in improving insulation, the toolkit was being marketed to the house building industry by Bioregional.

“After four years of in-depth research, we can now offer the housebuilding industry a service that really works to tackle a serious and long-standing problem, namely the energy performance gap,” said Bioregional chief executive Sue Riddlestone.

She added: “This is an issue which harms the industry’s reputation, contributes significantly to carbon emissions and costs occupants billions of pounds in lost energy savings. We want to use BEPIT to make a real difference.”

International engineering consultancy Cundall welcomed the development. Julian Sutherland, the firm’s building services partner, said: “With the UK finally about to start tackling its chronic housing shortage, it’s vital that we address energy performance issues before we start on a project of such huge strategic significance.

“The fact that many newly built homes exhibit a 50% gap in predicted and measured performance shows how urgently we need the BEPIT toolkit.”

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