Analysis of Building-integrated Renewable Energy Systems in Modern UK Homes

  • Alexander Glass

    Student thesis: Doctor of Engineering


    Driven by climate change and the impending depletion of fossil fuels, the UK Government has set the great challenge to UK builders to produce zero-carbon homes as of 2016. Due to a lack of experience the merits of integrating onsite micro renewable energy systems were largely unknown. Barratt Development PLC, UK's largest builder, set out in 2006 to investigate how these new building regulations can best be tackled. The key points to be investigated are: how much CO2 can be offset using renewable energy systems in standard homes and at what cost; how reliable are these systems; and how can their performance be improved? At the EcoSmart village several systems were tested under realistic conditions, including PV, Solar Thermal, Micro Wind Turbines, GSHPs and microCHP. The systems were tested over a 12-month period, integrated into standard Barratt homes, and running under near real-life conditions. Data was recorded from the test-site, including heat and electrical energy generation and consumption, temperature data and weather data. This data was used to establish the theoretical performance of the systems at the test site, and by doing so simple methods were found and tested that can be used by builders or architects to gain a better understanding of the expected performance of a particular system. The estimated energy generation was then compared to the measured performance. Detailed modelling and analysis of observations was carried out to provide explanations for any discrepancies, and based on this general recommendations were made on how the performance of the systems could be improved. Given the commercial drivers behind carrying out this research project, a high emphasis was given to financial implications of installing the systems. For this purpose payback periods and life-time savings were estimated, based on measured performance and other influences such as feed-in tariffs. This was also done for embodied energy and embodied carbon, as this will ultimately determine how the systems can help to fulfil the purpose of Government legislation, which is to reduce the carbon footprint of the UK domestic sector.
    Date of Award1 Aug 2011
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Manchester
    SupervisorGeoffrey Levermore (Supervisor)


    • Sustainability, Zero Carbon Homes, CSH, PV, Solar, GSHP, Micro Wind, Feed-in Tariffs

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