CAR has a strong quantitative orientation and we have worked on taking measurements from individual buildings and groups of buildings since the company was formed 30 years ago. We are particularly interested in measuring energy and carbon performance in buildings, and unpicking what is now recognised as the ‘Performance Gap’ between estimated carbon performance at the design stage, and what happens when buildings are actually completed and handed over.
We have carried out a series of projects looking at the Performance Gap facing dwellings and non-domestic buildings, extending findings from Innovate UK’s £8 million Building Performance Evaluation Programme.
We also undertook a series of very detailed scientific measurements to evaluate heat loss through cavity party walls, on behalf of the Government’s Department of Business and Energy (BEIS). This work was ground-breaking, using new measurement and modelling techniques, and the first time a large sample of homes had undergone such measurements. Our findings challenged the accepted wisdom about heat loss through party walls.
We subsequently won financial support from BEIS’s Innovation Funding to examine the potential energy and carbon saving from using an innovative boiler add-on called Oxypod. This has been shown to remove air and oxygen from heating circuits, and the developers claimed it also brings significant energy and carbon savings. We are using scientific measurements to assemble real-world performance data and assess whether there is truly an energy and carbon benefit.
We have also used smart-meter data and temperature sensors to estimate heat-loss coefficients (which provide a summary snapshot of thermal performance of buildings) for 50+ dwellings.