Case Study

Improving thermal comfort in buildings

Saint Gobain

The challenge

By 2020 new build dwellings should perform at an energy efficiency of 90% or better in relation to the designed performance. However, evidence shows a significant difference between the design and the as-built performance of new UK buildings. Estimating the as-built performance of a building presents several technical challenges. Saint-Gobain designs, manufactures and distributes construction materials world wide. The company’s objective is to deliver the best solutions possible to build more sustainably and deliver comfort to building users. Taking a Multi Comfort approach to the design, build and renovation of homes and buildings, Saint-Gobain wanted to  enhance thermal comfort by developing a methodology to address the performance gap between building design and the as-built thermal performance.

Our response

Saint-Gobain has a long standing relationship with the University of Nottingham and appreciate its world-leading expertise and experience in sustainable building design and low carbon sustainable energy technologiesWith access to the University of Nottingham’s award winning Creative Energy Homes and sustainable technologies, a long term, in-situ monitoring study was conducted in a number of the  universities residential properties  to assess thermal performance. The findings were consistent with tests carried out in a climate chamber. PhD graduate, Dr Vasileios Sougkakis was recruited to refine a methodology and standardised testing system for understanding heat loss from buildings.

The impact

A full house thermal assessment methodology was refined for larger more commercially focused field trials.  This has has helped to directly inform the thermal performance of new homes. Completion of the first long-term study in the UK has helped to validate the methodology, which will provide house builders with certainty on building design parameters and an understanding of fabric performance and performance gaps for new builds and retrofit homes. Tom Cox, Habitat Head of Development at Saint-Gobain said “Through the KTP we now have a better understanding of the complex relationship between buildings and dynamic environment testing and the impact this has on thermal performance and comfort”.

Mark Gillott, Professor of Sustainable Building Design said “Our work with Saint-Gobain is helping the construction industry achieve its goals to reduce the performance gap”.