Research aims to close energy performance gap

Arbnco, performance gap

The Energy Systems Research Unit (ESRU) at the University of Strathclyde has partnered with software provider Arbnco on a ambitious knowledge-transfer partnership (KTP) that aims to address the so-called ‘energy performance gap’ as buildings often underperform when compared to design expectations. The energy performance gap is the difference between design predictions and operational performance in buildings. It creates market confusion, with the predicted asset performance of a standardised building becoming disconnected from operational reality.

The performance gap leads to fluctuating energy costs and increased energy consumption, resulting in inefficient buildings.

Many initiatives investigating energy performance gaps make use of dynamic integrated building performance simulation tools to analyse remedial actions and upgrades. Building simulation differs from compliance type models, such as Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM), currently used to support estate management. However, this capability of simulation models is often compromised by the lack of prior calibration to match prediction to current performance.

This KTP aims to develop a software tool to undertake such calibrations automatically. This solution will lead to high-quality building simulation models for use in energy analysis and decision-making regarding the operation, maintenance and retrofitting of large estates.

The calibration tool will employ actual performance data (energy and indoor environment) to routinely calibrate building simulation models prior to application for energy analysis. The KTP will also incorporate an element of ‘wellness’, with both Arbnco and the University of Strathclyde studying potential uses of calibrated models to evaluate interactions between energy, thermal comfort and indoor air quality.

Professor Joe Clarke, director of ESRU, said, ‘This KTP will contribute towards closing the energy gap and understanding its causes’

Maureen Eisbrenner, co-founder of Arbnco explained, ‘The KTP aims to highlight poor-performing buildings and, more importantly, the reason behind poor performance.’

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