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.
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
Courses from the Faculty of Technology use the house for a variety of research and teaching, and students from the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying – including those on the BSc (Hons) Building Surveying course – also use the facility.
- 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