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Understanding and Measuring the Building Fabric Performance of Low Carbon Dwellings

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2022) | Viewed by 3200

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Leeds Sustainability Institute, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK
Interests: airtightness; building performance evaluation; climate change and energy use; coheating testing; energy and carbon dioxide emission modelling of the UK housing stock; energy and environmental monitoring of buildings; thermal comfort; low carbon housing and sustainability and the built environment
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Guest Editor
School of Science, Engineering and Environment, University of Salford, Salford, United Kingdom
Interests: energy; building physics; sustainability; housing; energy efficiency

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is widely acknowledged that if we are to mitigate the effects of climate change, then significant reductions in global CO2 emissions will be required. In the majority of industrialised countries, the domestic sector contributes significantly to national CO2 emissions. Therefore, significant CO2 emission reductions will be required from dwellings if national emission reduction targets are to be met and the worst effects of climate change are to be mitigated.

One factor that can have a significant impact on the long-term energy use and CO2 emission performance of dwellings is the building fabric. As dwellings have traditionally had slow replacement cycles, coupled with long physical lifetimes, the performance of the building fabric can influence dwellings’ energy use and CO2 emissions for many future decades. This is particularly the case with new build dwellings. At the same time, it has also become clear that a growing body of empirical evidence is emerging that indicates that performance of the building fabric, which was traditionally taken for granted, often performs much worse than was originally predicted or intended. This discrepancy in performance, between that which has been measured in reality and that which was originally intended as part of the design, is commonly referred to as the ‘performance gap’. Therefore, if significant reductions in the CO2 emission emissions attributable to dwellings are to be achieved over the coming years, it is not only imperative that we increase our understanding of how the building fabric performs in situ in new dwellings, but research efforts are devoted to developing appropriate methods and techniques that can robustly improve the building fabric thermal performance of new dwellings and minimise the ‘performance gap’.

For this Special Issue of Sustainability on “Understanding and measuring the Building Fabric Performance of Low Carbon Dwellings”, we invite original papers or state-of-the-art reviews dealing with the issues surrounding the thermal performance of the building fabric in new build dwellings and new, novel or existing techniques that can be used to assess, measure and quantify the fabric performance of new dwellings in use. We would encourage the submission of papers that develop the area of cost-effective and rapid solutions of building performance measurement.

Prof. Dr. David Johnston
Dr. Richard Fitton
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Airtightness
  • Building fabric
  • Coheating
  • Dwellings
  • Heat flux
  • Heat loss
  • In situ performance
  • Performance gap
  • Thermal bridging
  • Thermal bypass

Published Papers (1 paper)

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24 pages, 5106 KiB  
Integrated Testing of Building Fabric Thermal Performance for Calibration of Energy Models of Three Low-Energy Dwellings in the UK
by Rajat Gupta and Matt Gregg
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2784; - 4 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2587
This paper presents the methodology and results of in situ testing of building fabric thermal performance to calibrate as-built energy models of three low-energy dwellings in the UK, so as to examine the gap between as-designed and as-built energy performance. The in situ [...] Read more.
This paper presents the methodology and results of in situ testing of building fabric thermal performance to calibrate as-built energy models of three low-energy dwellings in the UK, so as to examine the gap between as-designed and as-built energy performance. The in situ tests included repeat testing of air permeability (AP) integrated with thermal imaging survey and heat flux measurements of the building fabric elements, along with concurrent monitoring of indoor temperature during the pre-occupancy stage. Despite being designed to high thermal standards, wall and roof U-values were measured to be higher than expected. Thermal imaging surveys revealed air leakage pathways around door/window openings, penetrations and junctions between walls and ceilings, indicating poor detailing and workmanship. AP was found to have increased after the initial test due to post-completion alteration to the building fabric. Though the results did not meet design expectation, they were within the UK Building Regulations. Calibration of energy models with temperature monitoring provided a less extreme energy performance gap than simply replacing the designed values with test results. Insights from this study have reinforced the need for building regulations to require integrated testing of building fabric as part of housing delivery to ensure performance targets are realised. Full article
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