Research in the IFORE project is led by the two universities, University of Artois (Laboratory of Civil Engineering and Geo-environment) and University of Brighton (College of Arts and Humanities).
Researchers associated with the project have worked on the testing of innovative systems, on the instrumentation of houses and on the modelling of the houses for thermal simulations.
To model is to represent real physical phenomena by using mathematical models.
In the IFORE project, the computer models simulate the thermal behavior of buildings.
In Outreau and Rushenden , for the validation of preliminary studies and for the monitoring of the performance of the houses before and after renovation, a number of sensors and other measuring instruments have been or will be implemented.
Instrumentation on the site of Outreau
A weather station was installed on the site of Outreau nearby the IFORE houses. The measured data (air temperature, wind speed, sunshine, etc.) will help validate simulation models of the houses that have been used to test different technical solutions for renovation.
This meteorological data will also help to put into perspective the data on energy consumption and behaviour by comparing it to the weather conditions.
In the prototype houses, a finer instrumentation is set up to evaluate the performance of innovative systems in place.
Sensors allow the measurement and recording of temperature and air humidity parameters in homes since October 2011 (30 sensors for 14 homes).
A sensor of differential pressure between the external and internal environments should provide a better understanding of the functioning of the supply-air windows and provide information about the output and direction of the airflow inside the windows.
This is to assess the energy gain of fresh air preheating when circulation in the windows.
A temperature and air velocity sensor was installed on the outlet of the general air exhaust of the house.
This is to measure the amount of exhaust air and the amount of heat energy lost (or recoverable) on the exhaust air.
A "webserver" data logger , connected to a internet box allows remote retrieval of measured data and a possible reconfiguration of the acquisition (no time calibration of channels, etc.).
Remote modules allow the distribution of measuring points in the house without loss of signal in the cables.
A sensor placed in the room enables continuous measuring of temperature (°C), humidity (%) and CO2 (ppm). This allows to evaluate the comfort conditions in the home, whether chosen or suffered by the occupant.
The CO2 is a good indicator of the quality of air.
Pre-retrofit monitoring was carried out at Rushenden by installation of tiny-tag temperature loggers in all 100 houses at three locations, in the living room, master bedroom and adjacent to the hall thermostat. In addition tiny-tag humidity loggers were installed in a sample house representing each of the 7 house types.
An external temperature logger was also installed at each of these locations. The difference between internal and external temperatures was used to determine the number of degree-days during the winter 2011-12, and compared with tenants’ gas bills for validation of the simulation models.
The Trombe wall test installation at Rushenden that has been designed in England, for comparison with the advanced version being trialled in France, is being equipped with measuring devices. Heat flux mats monitor the rate of heat transfer across the thickness of the heat store within the trombe wall for transfer to the room within.
Where the Trombe walls are installed, the environmental conditions are measured by recording the air temperature, and the temperature of ventilation air entering the room at the Trombe wall inlet vent, using thermocouples.
A humidity sensor monitors the relative humidity in these rooms.
The room carbon dioxide ppm (parts per million) concentration is measured using a tinytag CO2 logger, ppm carbon dioxide is commonly taken to be a proxy for the general concentration of pollutants.
Coincident measurements of ambient temperatures are taken using a tinytag TGP-4020 external temperature logger.
Each of these readings is recorded on a Grant squirrel SQ800 logger that is able to store several months’ data before download.
A unique feature of the IFORE project is to introduce bioclimatic components in the retrofitting: supply air windows (also referred to as "dynamic" windows) and Trombe walls . They were developed by some project partners members Pas-de-Calais habitat's GRC and tested at the University of Artois's LGCgE.
After implementation on the prototype IFORE homes in Outreau, together with an accompaniment of residents to ensure their acceptance of these devices, these components will be used in other thermal retrofittings of Pas-de-Calais habitat. Trombe walls will also be tested for possible implementation in Rushenden.
In Rushenden, the works consist in classic measures, installation of renewable energy systems, and innovative systems - the latter will be adapted from the systems designed by the French IFORE team.
- Solar photovoltaics (41 houses)
- Solar thermal panels (27 houses)
- Heat recovery (MVHR) (29 houses)
- Ground source heat pumps (3 houses)
- Air Source heat pumps (3 houses)
- Renewable heating Systems - (6 houses)
- Loft insulation (100 houses)
- External wall insulation (100 houses)
- Window refurbishment (100 houses)
- Door replacement (100 houses)
- Draught proofing (100 houses)
- “A” rated boilers ((54 houses)
The innovative systems that have been designed since the beginning of the project are being installed gradually on the different house types and will be experimented on 100 "IFORE" houses in Outreau, and several in Rushenden.
- First prototype installed in June 2012 on a Type 4 house in the rue du Biez;
- Second prototype installed in April 2013 on a Type 1 house ;
* the temperature increases in the air space behind the glazing and in front of the wall due to the effects of solar radiation: this is known as the "greenhouse effect".
* the wall then stores the energy and transfers its heat to the interior of the home.
* vents in the lower and upper parts of the insulated wall result in the circulation of warm air into the room at the top of the trombe wall.
The resulting effect is to naturally heat the room with free energy. After periods of sunshine, heat can be transferred into the home if the wall temperature exceeds the temperature of the room. To gain maximum benefit from the trombe wall, it is important that the wall has a south facing aspect, optimising the extent of solar gain. As the energy is provided naturally by the sun, it is free and limitless!
The Trombe wall is one of the innovative solutions being incorporated into the retrofitted homes at Outreau and Rushenden.
The IFORE team chose to integrate the project data into the EMBED (Energy Monitoring and Building Evaluation Database) database. EMBED allows us to interpret the vast quantity of energy data generated by the IFORE project and disseminate this information to a wider audience.
The EMBED data repository was developed by the Energy Saving Trust for the “Retrofit for the Future” competition. It enables analysis of the data and comparison with other retrofit projects.
The database also handles the varied data formats produced by the range of equipment incorporated in the project. For example, the monitoring equipment varied from basic temperature loggers (Tiny Tags) to more complex radio frequency devices, which measure parameters such as CO2, humidity, electricity and gas usage.