The 6th Carbon Budget, released in December 2020, sets out national decarbonisation pathways to 2050 across all sectors. Following these pathways, we can expect an installation rate of about 415,000 heat pumps per year by 2025, rising to over 1 million installations per year by 2030. Electrification of space heating is gathering pace, and with it, intelligent energy management is moving from being beneficial to being necessary to ensure the resilience of the power grid.
Across our research programme, the teams are looking for increasing amounts of monitored building performance data. But what is this monitored data and why do we want it? Let’s take a look at this in a bit more detail, and why it is important in enabling the UK’s transition to net zero.
Active and low carbon buildings can create energy flexibility, reduce emissions, and decrease energy bills. Yet there is an important factor that should be considered; to achieve net zero carbon, we must reduce emissions and be more energy efficient without having a negative impact on the occupants’ comfort. So, how can we achieve our targets in energy management and control of buildings while respecting occupants’ comfort?
Digitals twins have been widely used by industry for many decades. Nevertheless, their use in the built environment is relatively recent, but growing inline with the decarbonisation agenda. Literature to date has evidenced the role of digital twins in promoting energy improvements, but how can they be implemented more widely to benefit net-zero in the sector?
Residential buildings account for about a quarter of the global energy use. With the growing electrification of the heating and transport sector, their consumption is likely to increase further and new approaches to the design and specification of buildings will be needed to deliver optimal performance.
As building performance data becomes more pervasive, there are opportunities to improve how we design the net-zero carbon buildings of the future. At Loughborough University, we are utilising real-world data to create a new model that will improve how buildings and, more importantly, communities of buildings, can be designed.
There is a growing number of energy simulation tools to support the increasing demand for energy efficient buildings. As an energy analyst, the challenge is knowing which is the most appropriate for a given application. As part of our research activities are, we are comparing the performance of two of the most widely used tools.
Smart building controls will enable greater power grid flexibility but the focus now needs to be on how we transition these powerful concepts into a deployable reality. The benefits have been reported for quite a while now. Smart control can enable buildings to act as providers of flexible services to the wider power grid, while improving the occupant’s thermal comfort.
To address the availability issues surrounding residential heat pump profile data for energy systems researchers, our team has have developed the ‘Electrified Water And Space-heating Profiler’ tool. Being accessible to non-experts, running on open source software, and considering a large range of buildings, this tool could help transform how we analysis heat pump performance across the sector.