Modelling and monitoring the Unitec standard house to improve sustainability and indoor environmental quality.

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Authors
Tait, Robert
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Date
2011
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Other
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Keyword
living environment
alternative construction techniques
alternative construction materials
temperature
humidity
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Citation
Tait, R. (2011). Modelling and monitoring the Unitec standard house to improve sustainability and indoor environmental quality. [unpublished Unitec Research Committee Research Report].
Abstract
A testing facility has been established on the Unitec campus which allows monitoring of temperatures and humidity levels in a standard 3-bedroom house, operating as a control, to compare with the performance a second house modified with alternative materials or construction techniques. This appears to be very rare for thermal testing, with most experiments being carried out at an elemental level (ie individual materials within a laboratory setting), or in situ on a small section of construction as part of a larger building. A pilot study was completed to ensure that the monitoring process was functioning appropriately, and data collection commenced in December of the first test case, investigating the performance of a high-spec glazing unit to replace standard double-glazing. Initial findings indicate that the high-spec glazing makes a significant improvement in the thermal comfort of the house, which confirms results from laboratory-based materials tests. Monitoring is ongoing, and further analysis will provide more detailed evaluation of the benefits provided by the glazing in terms of year-round temperature performance and any resulting energy savings. In parallel with the physical testing of the house performance, computer simulations have been used to model the theoretical performance, and test the accuracy and ease of use of commonly used environmental modeling software. This part of the project has proven more difficult than expected, and has not yet produced results with the desired accuracy to compare against the monitored data. However, the difficulties experienced have provided an insight into potential problems and improvements that need to be addressed before these systems can be used more widely by practitioners.
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Robert Tait
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