General description of testing facilities in the Energy House
A unique testing asset, the Energy House is the only full-scale building in an environmental chamber in Europe, and the only full-scale brick-built test facility in a controlled environment in the world. The Energy House has been designed and developed to allow leading academics and researchers to conduct scientific research, to improve the energy efficiency of hard to treat properties, in collaboration with industry.
This includes the development and testing of new materials, systems and products as well as looking at behaviour change associated with the adoption of energy efficiency measures in the home.
The Energy House is also breaking new ground in terms of Building Physics, carrying out many verification tests for methodologies that are currently used (and being developed) to test the energy performance of buildings and address the gap between design and as-built performance.
The house is a traditionally constructed, terraced building (with a neighbouring property). It has solid brick walls, suspended timber floors, lath and plaster ceilings and single glazed windows. In its current state it is uninsulated. The heating is provided by a wet central heating system, fired by a gas condensing combination boiler. All of this can be changed to suit the testing requirements required by clients.
The external environment surrounding a dwelling can potentially make a significant difference to how much energy is required to heat the building. It is for this reason that we have developed the chamber to recreate a series of external weather conditions:
- Rain (up to 200mm each hour)
- Temperature ranges from -12ºC to +30ºC (with an accuracy of +/-0.5ºC)
- Wind (localised and chamber wide) up to 10m/s
The test facility uses several different monitoring equipment, all logging and displayed through a custom time series program. This provides live data feeds and real time analysis of the following data points. Currently the Energy House has over 200 sensors which are able to read down to 1 second resolution. This can generate over 2.8 Gigabytes in a week-long test.
Since opening, the following funded testing has taken place:
- Performance of building controls (TRV and thermostats)
- Performance of insulation solutions (of all kinds)
- Testing of various building performance tests (co-heating, in situ U-value monitoring, etc.)
- Door and window heat loss testing
- Monitoring the performance of electrical heating systems