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Caveats for policy development when combining energy ratings, national buildings energy models and empirical statistics

15 May, 2018

Caveats for policy development when combining energy ratings, national buildings energy models and empirical statistics

Alex Summerfield

Tadj Oreszczyn

Ian Hamilton

Research paper   Buildings & Energy

Alex Summerfield, Tadj Oreszczyn, J Palmer and Ian Hamilton

Energy policy evaluation and development can often involve the combined use of evidence from energy ratings, national housing energy models, and empirical statistics. Limited research has been done, however, to look at systematic differences in the energy consumption estimates from these different tools or sources.

This paper compares annual gas consumption estimates from two versions of the Cambridge Housing Model (CHM), a national energy stock model, with empirical data from over 2.5 million gas- heated homes in England in the National Energy Efficiency Database (NEED). The analysis investigates differences by dwelling type, size, and age band. It also compares gas consumption across different rating bands estimated from Energy Performance Certificates (EPC). The findings show systematic overestimation by the CHM for larger older dwellings and far lower savings than would be expected from upgrading dwellings to a minimum of EPC Band C.

This has implications for use of building energy models that assume uniform operational settings across all dwellings, especially where older larger dwellings are the target of energy efficiency initiatives. It suggests that the models should be regularly reviewed and revised based on empirical evidence and that greater uncertainty should be ascribed to predictions of energy savings in the residential sector.

Publication details

Summerfield, A.J., Oreszczyn, T., Palmer, J. and Hamilton, I.G. 2018. Caveats for policy development when combining energy ratings, national buildings energy models and empirical statistics. In: Proceedings of the International Energy Policy Programme Evaluation Conference 2018. IEPPEC, Vienna, Austria. 15 May 2018.

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