Understanding the influence of occupants’ behaviour on the hygrothermal performance of insulated solid walls in traditional housing.
Herrera Gutierrez-Avellanosa, Daniel
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HERRERA GUTIERREZ-AVELLANOSA, D. and BENNADJI, A. 2014. Understanding the influence of occupants’ behaviour on the hygrothermal performance of insulated solid walls in traditional housing. Presented at the European Network for Housing Research 2014 (ENHR 2014), 1-4 July 2014, Edinburgh, UK.
Residential buildings in the UK consume around 28% of total final energy use. Therefore, in order to achieve the CO2 and fuel poverty reduction targets set by the Scottish government, it will be necessary to improve the energy efficiency of the existing housing stock. This research explores the improvement of the envelope’s performance in traditionally constructed buildings (which represent 20% of the total stock) so as to reduce the space heating energy demand. Current studies show a great level of uncertainty regarding the long term effects of energy retrofit on moisture migration in traditional fabrics. Evaluation of risks, prior to any alteration on building’s physics, is critical to avoid any future damage on the envelope’s performance or occupants’ health and well being. Moisture dynamics in buildings’ envelopes are affected by the geometry of the enclosure, material properties and external and internal boundary conditions. Within the internal boundary there are several user related factors determining the environmental conditions like hours of heating use, number of rooms heated, temperature settings, ventilation patterns or cooking and dry clothing habits. However, due to the difficulty to obtain and model this information, internal climate is often neglected or extremely simplified. This research will explore the influence of user’s behaviour on the risk of condensation in solid walls in order to predict the actual effects of retrofit measures. Specifically, it will focus on the users’ influence on the hygrothermal performance of granite solid walls in Scottish tenement buildings after the insulation of the cavity between inner face of the masonry and the original lining. This research project intends to use Heat, Air and Moisture (HAM) numerical simulation to examine the impact of different behavioural patterns on the insulated walls. These patterns will be previously identified and analysed by means of long term environmental monitoring and occupants’ in-depth interviews. The results of this research may be used to advice owners and practitioners about the feasibility of different retrofit measures and the behavioural aspects that need to be monitored after its implementation. Conference held in Edinburgh.