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Pre-1919 suspended timber ground floors in the UK: estimating in-situ U-values and heat loss reduction potential of interventions

Pelsmakers, SLJ; (2016) Pre-1919 suspended timber ground floors in the UK: estimating in-situ U-values and heat loss reduction potential of interventions. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Space heating demand in dwellings accounts for around 13% of the UK's CO2 emissions. In support of the UK's carbon emission reduction targets, the UK's existing housing stock would benefit from its thermal performance being characterised. This would facilitate decision-making in the reduction of space-heating energy demand through retrofit. Approximately 25% of the UK's 26 million dwellings pre-date 1919 and are predominantly of suspended timber ground floor construction, the performance of which has not been extensively investigated at present. While under-floor insulation uptake may increase under future government policies, the actual thermal performance of suspended timber ground floors and the implications of insulating them are poorly characterised at present. This PhD research used in-situ heat-flow measuring techniques and the research improved and added knowledge and understanding to the methodological approaches of in-situ estimation of floor U-values, the in-situ estimated U-value of a small number of suspended timber ground floors and the effect of some insulation interventions. Findings highlighted a significant variation in 'point' U-values across the floor with increased thermal transmittance observed along the exposed perimeter and near airbrick locations. This additionally highlighted that obtaining 'whole' floor U-values from a limited number of measured point locations on a floor with large heat-flow variations is challenging. Furthermore, insulation interventions significantly reduced floor U-values and generally a significant disparity was found between modelled and measured U-values. Current models appeared to underestimate the 'whole' floor measured U-value for the floors monitored and this disparity reduced the better insulated the floor. Using current floor U-value models might result in misguided retrofit strategies due to the observed disparity between in-situ estimated and modelled floor U-values as found in a small sample in this study. If these observations are more broadly confirmed in the pre-1919 housing stock, it could have significant implications for policy and retrofit decision-making.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Pre-1919 suspended timber ground floors in the UK: estimating in-situ U-values and heat loss reduction potential of interventions
Event: UCL Energy Institute
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: In-situ U-values, pre-1919 housing, suspended floors, heat flux measurements, heat loss
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1505859
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