Over the past 10 years the GHA has led the way on a number of important research projects, in partnership with leading academics, industry practitioners, and policy makers.
The GHA led on a number of performance monitoring studies funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government, Energy Saving Trust and NHBC Foundation.
- Phase 1: Fabric testing – Provision of technical support for GHA Developers in monitoring the fabric performance of their dwellings
- Phase 1A covers 4 dwellings on 3 sites, all using different build systems (e.g. SIPS panels or thin joint masonry) and built to different standards, including Code 4, Code 5 and Ecohomes Excellent. Phase 1B has extended this monitoring to cover 4 further dwellings, including Code 4, Code 5 and Passivhaus schemes, and built using timber frame, Hemcrete and other systems.
- Phase 2: In-use monitoring and post occupancy evaluation – Extension of the above monitoring on each site, to measure energy and water consumption, indoor air quality, humidity and thermal comfort, and occupant feedback.
The following projects were used as case studies:
- One Brighton, Bioregional Quintain
- Old Apple Store, Ecos Homes
- Derwenthorpe, Joseph Rowntree Housing Association
Performance Gap Campaign
As a result of this research, the GHA led a campaign for home performance assessment to be based on measured as-built performance, rather than design targets/intent. This is particularly important in the case of the energy efficiency of new homes, where the performance gap – the difference between actual as-built performance and the design target – has been shown to be up to 120%. This led to the creation of the Zero Carbon Hub working group that discussed how performance measurement could be included in the Building Regulations requirements, and encouraged the inclusion of as-built performance measurement in the zero carbon definitions.
Performance Delivery – LowCarb4Real
The GHA also worked with Leeds Metropolitan University and UCL on a project sponsored by UrbanBuzz, to gather evidence and good practice about how to deliver low carbon homes. Drawing on detailed academic studies at Stamford Brook along with GHA member experience, the GHA disseminated and implement this learning by providing education and technical support to GHA Developer members and others.
Information about how to achieve good performance on sustainable housing projects was then collected and a number of detailed case studies including:
- One Brighton by BioRegional Quintain
- Bladon, Oxfordshire by Kingerlee Homes
- Old Apple Store by ECOS Homes
Further Performance Monitoring Studies
The GHA was involved with a number of performance monitoring studies led by GHA members:
The GHA has undertaken two pieces of work in this field:
- An in depth study funded by the Technology Strategy Board into the potential for overheating in UK apartments, using the ‘One Brighton’ development as a case study.
- An investigation funded by DECC and the HCA, undertaken in partnership with the CIEH, into the scale of overheating in the UK, including common causes, and remediation techniques and costs.
A project funded by the NHBC Foundation to identify good practice approaches to ventilation and low energy building design, that lead to good indoor air quality. The project gathered data from leading-edge projects that have recently been completed, covering whole house, mechanical extract, passive and natural ventilation solutions, and will examine common problems such as integrated design, installation, commissioning, and user behaviour.