Research project poll

We have a number of ideas for research topics that we will pursue next. Having spoken to our Members, we have a shortlist of topics which can be seen below.. We would like your help deciding which one to go for. Please complete the short Survey Monkey poll below to let us know your preference.

Do share this webpage.  The more responses we have, the more useful the final output will be.

Please do let us know if your organisation might help fund the project and we can follow up with a conversation about how this might work.

Contact Laura directly with any other ideas or queries: Laura@building-performance.network

Thanks in advance for your input.

Topics

There have been a number of studies undertaken over last 10 years to understand the performance of non-domestic buildings addressing issues such as energy consumption and outcomes for landlords and occupants, particularly for commercial offices, including programmes such as BBPs Design for Performance and the WELL Building Standard. However, in other fields such as the education sector, the evidence base is both less developed and more disparately spread. The purpose of this report would be to provide an accessible review of key studies, their objectives, main findings and key conclusions from these studies, and to understand how this information can be applied on a sector-by-sector basis to improving the performance of non-domestic buildings, possibly starting with education buildings. Do suggest other non-domestic building types in the Other box below.
By comparison with new-build housing, there have been few studies undertaken over last 10 years to understand the performance of existing homes, whether addressing energy consumption or health and other outcomes for occupants. Some of the studies that have taken place are not publicly available, because of the negative findings. The purpose of this report would be to provide an accessible review of key studies, their objectives, main findings and key conclusions from these studies, and to understand how this information can be applied to improving the performance of the existing housing stock and to identify any gaps in further research and data collection that are needed.
Health & well-being is a huge market and a key driver for purchasing decisions for an increasing proportion of the public; this applies to homes and other buildings, where there is particular attention on Indoor Air Quality and condensation/ mould/ respiratory diseases. However, how do you know whether you’ve got a healthy building? The WELL Building standard offers one methodology and brand for design and delivery, but how do you know which approaches are most effective (and cost-effective) and that you are having the impacts you claim? To understand this, you need to measure the health effects of any changes. At the moment, most measures are based on proxy indicators, such as Indoor Air Quality, Ventilation rates, Temperatures and Relative Humidity, but converting these proxy measures into health impacts is little understood in the building sector. This project will work with health professionals, and their organisations, to develop understanding about how to measure health impacts and, ideally, to develop and trial standard methodologies for their measurement.
Gathering data has never been easier; there are plans to install smart meters in most UK homes, smart buildings can produce hundreds or thousands of data points, and individual occupants can collect data about their own local environment through devices or Apps such as Foobot. However, the data itself may be of very limited value – it needs interpretation, analysis, mapping, and comparison in order to provide useful feedback on its impacts and on how to improve performance. This project will explore how to gather, store and use big data sets, including: what data needs collecting, what can be done with it, what is it actually telling us, and how can we develop algorithms to interpret and analyse the data?
Energy performance monitoring is now a well-established science, with multiple different methodologies and measurement technologies. There are even hierarchies that suggest using broad level data to identify potential areas of concern, before applying more forensic monitoring to those areas, and both broad (e.g. energy consumption distribution curves) and specific (e.g. co-heating tests, thermographic imaging) methodologies available at both levels. However, some of the forensic investigation methodologies are time-consuming and extremely costly (e.g. the co-heating test) that makes them impractical for use as a standard quality control test. New methodologies (e.g. P Star, Pulse) are being proposed/ tested as simpler, cheaper ways of gathering performance data, but they each have limitations and can only be used to indicate particular things. This project will examine the new methodologies that are being developed and outline where and how they might be most useful as well as highlighting where they should not be used or what they do not tell you.
A quick research project to determine what the cost of carbon is in relation to the performance gap.  The purpose of this research would be to help policy makers and clients understand the reason for reducing the performance gap to zero.
A quick research project to compare the various energy rating systems for EPCs, DECs, RDSAP, etc to establish what the differences are and what is meaningful. Conclusions and recommendations as to what might replace them.  This potential project will be assessed as and when the Government’s response to the EPC consultation is published.

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