Award for research paper mapping energy retrofit potential
Two Oxford Brookes University academics have won an award for their research into energy efficiency in homes in Bicester, Oxfordshire.
Professor Rajat Gupta and Senior Research Fellow Matt Gregg from the Low Carbon Building Research Group, outlined novel methods to speed up the implementation of energy improvements, retrofitting homes built between 1950 and 1965.
Their research focused on 440 houses in Bicester, in an area with high levels of fuel poverty, finding a potential annual energy bill reduction of up to 70%.
The researchers won the Best Paper award at the international Building Simulation and Optimisation (BSO-V) conference 2020.
…our research describes the application of a data driven, geographical information system-based approach, to identify suitable dwellings rapidly and accurately. This is achieved by mapping and modelling baseline energy use and potential for energy retrofit measures.Professor Rajat Gupta, Oxford Brookes Low Carbon Building Research Group
Millions of homes need energy improvements
The research paper, Spatially-based urban energy modelling approach for enabling energy retrofits in Oxfordshire, is based on their European Regional Development Fund project on domestic energy mapping, for enabling large-scale domestic energy retrofits. To meet the UK’s net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050, the research paper states a major transformation of the housing sector, which has lagged behind previous emissions targets, is vital.
Professor Rajat Gupta commented: “Although millions of existing homes across the UK need energy improvements, the process of identifying suitable homes is a time-consuming task and energy suppliers are struggling to meet their targets. Energy retrofits can also help to address fuel poverty which has serious economic and social effects on thousands of households.
“To address this challenge, our research describes the application of a data driven, geographical information system-based approach, to identify suitable dwellings rapidly and accurately. This is achieved by mapping and modelling baseline energy use and potential for energy retrofit measures.”
Package based approach reduces energy consumption
The award-winning Domestic Energy, Carbon counting and carbon Reduction Model (DECoRuM) was used to estimate current energy use and potential for energy reduction on a house-by-house level. The research focused on an area in Bicester with the highest level of fuel poverty, at 11%. The area also had over 10% of households with vulnerable residents, with disability or long term health problems.
The measures were grouped to encourage bulk installations and drive down costs. Energy assessments in the selected area shows that a package-based approach, comprising building fabric, heating system upgrade and solar panels, is effective at significantly reducing energy consumption and energy bills, and alleviating fuel poverty.
Map pictured below: Bicester retrofit energy consumption