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BSRIA monitoring in 'Retrofit for the Future' projectNovember 2010

Internal and external temperature and humidity transmitters

The Retrofit for the Future project commissioned by the Technology Strategy Board [TSB] aims to take typical dwellings, retrofit them with the latest energy saving systems and monitor the results closely, while the dwelling is occupied, to establish an accurate assessment of energy savings.

A 'Places for People' Aylesbury home was the first dwelling involved in Retrofit for the Future

The monitoring equipment is being supplied by BSRIA Instrument Solutions, experts in the supply of all sorts of testing equipment for the construction industry, who have developed a complete wireless monitoring package specially designed to the TSB's project requirements. Wireless operation was considered essential in order to interfere as little as possible with the lives of the occupants over the two years testing period. The first of the dwellings involved in Retrofit for the Future designed by MEPK Architects and built by Willmott Dixon Construction, has already been refurbished, fitted with green, energy efficient heating systems and is now occupied by a local family. The home is ideal for the purpose, being just about as ordinary as you could find. It is a three-storey mid-terrace house in a terrace of five and situated in a development of similar homes in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. Built in the early 1990s for Places for People and still owned by them it was heated by off-peak electric storage heaters supplemented by panel heaters by Viridian Solar and hot water was supplied by a single electric immersion heater. The house had a SAP rating of 62. Places for People undertook the energy improvements in conjunction with Energy Consultants Rickaby Thompson Associates and were among the first participants to receive the BSRIA Instrument Solutions monitoring package that will provide logged data about the energy performance in the house every five minutes for the next two years.

A typical location for a Wi5 data hub

Improvement measures adding energy efficiency to the house in Aylesbury include vastly improved insulation [new doors and windows as well as new insulated internal linings], roof-integrated photovoltaic panels by Viridian Solar and an exhaust air heat pump that captures internal heat gains in the stale air before it is expelled and replaced by fresh air. In summer ventilation and cooling is to be achieved by opening the windows. The basic monitoring package from BSRIA Instrument Solutions consists of three internal and one external temperature and humidity sensors, a carbon dioxide sensor in the main living space and a data hub where the information is accumulated. Additionally in Aylesbury there are two sensors monitoring the supply and extraction sides of the mechanical ventilation heat recovery [MVHR] system, two pyronometers measuring light levels on the different roof planes where the solar panels are situated, heat flux measurements on the solar heating and the hot water system and seven electrical sub-meters covering input for lights, MVHR and PV solar pumps.

At the end of the two year period the monitoring system will have provided invaluable statistics on the extent of energy savings achieved by the various systems used in the house, which will be evaluated not only by the TSB, but also such bodies as the Energy Saving Trust (EST) and myriad commercial interests in the construction industry. BSRIA Instrument Solutions are so far committed to supplying fifty-three basic testing packages to the TSB, most enhanced by additions tailored to individual requirements. The total number of homes to be monitored is 86 with a time scale extending into 2013.

BSRIA provides monitoring instruments such as the Radio-Tech Wi5 wireless data collection system and independent Building Performance Evaluation services.  For more information contact BSRIA Instrument Solutions:

T: 01344 459314