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‘Hitting the target and missing the point’: Analysis of air permeability data for new UK dwellings and what it reveals about the testing procedure

Love, JA; Wingfield, J; Smith, A; Biddulph, P; Oreszczyn, T; Lowe, R; Elwell, C; (2017) ‘Hitting the target and missing the point’: Analysis of air permeability data for new UK dwellings and what it reveals about the testing procedure. Energy and Buildings , 155 pp. 88-97. 10.1016/j.enbuild.2017.09.013. Green open access

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Abstract

Airtightness testing is widely undertaken to assess the as-built performance of dwellings, in support of achieving energy and ventilation strategies. Mandatory schemes operate in some countries, such as the UK, to ensure that dwellings are built in accordance with their design air permeability. However, testing is only useful if the results give a true picture of the airtightness of the building. Previous literature has investigated factors which could influence airtightness test results but has not questioned data quality, despite the pressure on builders to achieve design targets. This paper presents air permeability results from the largest UK dataset, comprising 144,024 dwellings tested under the Air Tightness Testing and Measurement Association (ATTMA) scheme. The data show an unexpected distribution of test results with narrow peaks just within test targets. Such results were not expected theoretically but do reflect findings in other fields where performance-based targets are in place. Such a close match between design and tested airtightness may be achieved by remedial works taking place during the test rather than afterwards. Recommendations are made with respect to quality assurance systems, design guidance and on-site sealing practices to increase the likelihood of long-term airtight buildings being constructed first time.

Type: Article
Title: ‘Hitting the target and missing the point’: Analysis of air permeability data for new UK dwellings and what it reveals about the testing procedure
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2017.09.013
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2017.09.013
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Air permeability; Testing procedure; Compliance; Data distortion; New dwellings
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/1573697
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