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Title: An investigation into the performance of low energy and zero carbon buildings in a changing climate : applying the Passivhaus house standard to the UK context
Author: McLeod, Robert S.
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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Energy consumption and Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from the UK built environment are reflective of the wider situation across Europe, where according to the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) "buildings account for 40% of total energy consumption in the Union" (European Commission, 2010). In December 2006 the UK Government announced a rapid transition to 'zero carbon' new buildings, as a key step forward in reducing GHG emissions from the domestic and non-domestic sectors (DCLG, 2006a; Weaver, 2007). The Passivhaus standard is the fastest growing energy performance standard in the world and in a growing number of regions across Europe it has been implemented as a mandatory minimum standard for all new buildings (iPHA, 2013). This thesis investigates the applicability of this low energy standard to the UK context, in comparison to conventional alternatives, by examining four inter-related themes: (i) in relation to climate change policy and the UK Government's plan for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016; (ii) by addressing the limitations of the climate data currently used to design Passivhaus buildings, and developing a new methodology for creating higher resolution probabilistic climate data; (iii) by exploring the uncertainty about the future performance of Passivhaus dwellings in relation to future overheating risk and thereby proposing methods to improve whole life design optimization; (iv) by investigating the hygrothermal implications for new build and retrofit Passivhaus projects and highlighting areas where current risk assessment methods are inadequate. This thesis has argued that the transfer of the Passivhaus standard, or any advanced energy performance standard, from one country or region to another should be accompanied by an extensive programme of context specific research and application testing. The findings of this research have shown that the implementation of the Passivhaus standard, in its present format, in the UK is not without risk and uncertainty. This thesis concludes that that the majority of such risks can be substantially mitigated, through the incorporation of high resolution probabilistic climatic data, transient hygrothermal assessments and global sensitivity analysis techniques. The energy saving and thermal comfort potential of the Passivhaus approach have been shown to be substantial and therefore merit the challenges involved in addressing its successful implementation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering ; TH Building construction