Many buildings consume significantly more energy during their service life than was expected during the design phase, and this gap in performance is a consequence of a number of key issues – including problems associated with the tools, data and models used to predict performance, the quality of construction, occupant behaviour and uncertainties such as changes in climatic conditions.

Our Port-Eco House is a 3-bedroom property equipped with various monitoring systems, which measure everything from the efficiency of heating and insulation to dampness and exterior weather conditions.

Based in a former caretaker's lodge on our city centre campus, the Port-Eco House is where we conduct pioneering research into the physical and environmental performance of dwellings, including human interaction with the property.

Close up of hand holding moisture meter

Recent activities in the house include:

  • A PhD student has just registered to carry out a comparative study between the actual performance of the house and a computer model, predicting a range of future climate change scenarios
  • Building Surveying and Property Development students have carried out building condition inspections
  • Professional surveyors on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses run by the Learning at Work department have been trained on-site
  • An undergraduate project is currently studying the performance of window screening, in collaboration with an external company
  • Students from the School of Biological Sciences compared the preservation of food stored in the house's larder with food stored in a refrigerator
  • The house has also been used by the School of Law to film a mock burglary


Staff from the Faculty of Technology use the house for a variety of research and teaching. Students from the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying – including those on the BSc (Hons) Building Surveying and BSc (Hons) Property Development courses – also use the facility. Select an image to enlarge and find out more.



  • Honeywell Evohome controlled heating system with A-rated boiler
  • Pressurised 211-litre insulated hot-water storage tank
  • Aereco permanent vents in living space
  • External weather station
  • Open/closed sensors on all windows and doors
  • Carbon dioxide monitors
  • Illuminance and solar radiation sensors
  • ECO Max Home EMH63 mains electricity voltage optimiser (216–230V)
  • Eltek 451L data loggers
  • Wireless surface temperature sensors
  • Networked video cameras
  • Hukseflux heat flux sensors
  • Flir T420bx thermal imaging camera
  • Extech MO297 moisture meters (wirelessly linked to thermal imaging camera)
  • Observator Diff Automatic Flow ventilation hood
  • TSI LCA 501 rotating vane anemometer and ventilation hood
  • Minneapolis Blower Door (whole-house pressurisation or depressurisation)
  • Extech HDV600 endoscope camera
  • Extech HD450 light meters
  • Hagner S4 photometer/radiometer
  • Cirrus CK161D sound meter
  • Hand-held air/relative humidity/surface temperature sensors

Where to find us

Port-Eco House

Lion Terrace

Visit us