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Energy Monitoring and Data Recording for Solid Wall Insulation and Retrofit Field TrialsJanuary 2010

The dark spots in this thermal image of the inside of a house show cold bridging where the wall is poorly insulated.

The Energy Saving Trust has appointed BSRIA for a major new contract to carry out energy monitoring and data recording for solid wall insulation and retrofit field trials in up to 200 existing homes across the UK. The contract is valued at approximately £700,000 and will run to April 2013.

The contract covers two similar projects, the first being the energy monitoring of Energy Saving Trust's field trials of solid wall insulation and the second as part of the Technology Strategy Board's 'Retrofit for the Future' competition.

The project will work with the insulation industry to support the installation of new and existing forms of solid wall insulation, with in-situ monitoring of performance. Recently, several new insulation products have entered the market. They are still developing and their in-situ performance has yet to be established, but they do offer potential for the millions of un-insulated solid walled homes in England. The purported energy savings vary widely and their acceptability to householders has yet to be determined. The aims of the project are therefore to establish the in-situ performance of a wide variety of solid wall insulation systems, with a focus on reduced energy consumption and carbon savings.

The requirement of the TSB Retrofit for the Future project is to undertake ongoing energy and internal conditions monitoring of each property once the retrofit works have been completed - for a period of 2 years. It is likely that many of the retrofit projects will take some time to complete, so the two-year monitoring period will extend into 2013. Further measurements of airtightness, thermal imaging and in-situ U values will also need to be undertaken at a suitable point once the retrofit works have been completed.

BSRIA prepared its proposals in the full understanding that much of the detail relating to locations and installation details were unknown at the time of the bid. In order to meet this challenge and also to ensure a rapid mobilisation to capture data within the current heating season, BSRIA is making maximum use of its regionally based teams presently conducting airtightness, acoustic and thermal imaging. It is the ready availability of this local resource that permits flexibility of BSRIA's operation.

BSRIA has also taken great care in arriving at an instrumentation (logging) solution, using the latest wireless technology. The selected choice is based not only on the required accuracies but also on the need to minimise inconvenience to occupants and on the reliability of outcome. BSRIA's aim is to minimise the dropout rate of the sample either due to equipment failure or occupant frustration and interference.

An experienced team based in Bracknell supports the regional operatives. They have a track record of delivering large-scale trials such as this and carry personal expertise in all the areas required. Other recently completed monitoring projects include:

· Energy Saving Trust Domestic Hot Water project
· Energy Saving Trust Microwind project
· British Council for Offices (BCO) Small Power project

These projects required not only technical skills to ensure accurate and consistent measurement but in the case of the two domestic projects, the special issues associated with working in occupied homes, using BSRIA's own people who are respectful and sympathetic to the home owner/occupier, minimising inconvenience and disruption.

In addition to the above, BSRIA has performed in-situ U value measurements for private clients; both on site and within bespoke test facilities and also retains the necessary accredited skills to perform SAP and RDSAP calculations.

The nature of this project will require adaptability and flexibility in approach and it is BSRIA's aim to do this willingly and openly with both the client and with others involved in the process.

For more information contact Jo Harris:
T: 01344 465600


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