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Park Homes

Tarbase modelling of pre- and post- retrofit homes

Overview

Heriot-Watt Univeristy's Urban Energy Research Group carried out individual modelling on 100 Park Homes, or 'residential mobile homes'. Tarbase modelling was used to develop a baseline of energy performance, carbon emissions and fuel bills for the 100 properties by considering energy used for space heating, hot water usage, lighting, appliances and refridgeration.

Park Homes are difficult to heat as they have thin, single skin walls, and cannot be insulated using typical measures applied to traditionally-constructed houses, such as cavity wall insulation. In addition, Park Homes do not need to comply with building regulations and therefore U-values for external elements such as walls and floors have never needed to meet building regulations standards.

Residents of Park Homes tend to have a higher than average incidence of fuel poverty due to a combination of high fuel costs and poor energy efficiency. Fuel costs can be significant because of the limited fuel types available to residents on these sites; bottled gas is the typical means of heating Park Homes.

Approach

Four retrofit measures: wall insulation, roof insulation, floor insulation and draught proofing were applied to twenty of the Park Homes (four did not have roof insulation) and the percentage improvements on fabric U-values and air infiltration rates were measured.

Performance

Post-retrofit modelling was carried out to determine the expected carbon emissions reductions in the twenty retrofitted Park Homes. Across all energy uses (including hot water use, appliances, refridgeration and lighting), the average saving was 24%.

The majority of savings are from space heating, with an average carbon emission reduction of 60% for this end use alone.

A limitation of the Tarbase model is that it cannot account for occupant actions. No post-occupancy evaluation was undertaken, so the effect of occupants heating their homes to a higher temperature than before cannot be considered.

Lessons

The pilot demonstrated that the solution for installing secondary glazing where shutters are present can deliver a substantial thermal and acoustic improvement to the windows without impacting on the appearance or functionality of the existing window features. In addition, the thermal performance of walls and external doors was also improved considerably while retaining existing elements.

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