New partnership aims to close the energy performance gap

Researchers are investigating why the actual energy performance of buildings is often well below design expectations.

This ‘energy performance gap’ – the difference between design predictions and operational performance – makes buildings inefficient and leads to higher energy consumption and costs.

It also means that clients may be reluctant to invest in further energy efficiency measures.

As The Energyst reports, the Energy Systems Research Unit (ESRU) at the University of Strathclyde is working with energy software provider Arbnco on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to understand and solve energy efficiency fails in buildings.

Existing 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), which are currently used to support estate management, The Energyst says. However, this capability of simulation models is often compromised by the lack of prior calibration to match prediction to current performance.

The partners plan to develop a software tool to undertake such calibrations automatically. They hope that the tool will lead to high-quality building simulation models for posterior use in energy analysis and decision-making regarding the operation, maintenance and retrofitting of large estates.

Arbnco intends to integrate the new calibration tool with its existing products and also offer automatic calibration through a new cloud-based service, Connecting Industry reports.

Maureen Eisbrenner, Co-founder of Arbnco, commented: “People’s health and wellbeing should be at the core of everything we do and we need to ensure buildings are not only energy efficient but a positive environment to work in. The KTP aims to highlight poor performing buildings and, more importantly, the reason behind poor performance.

“The long-term plan is to develop a tool that can be used internationally. This means that funds with buildings in multiple countries can develop a consistent global policy on asset and energy management.”


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