How are UK homes heated? A city-wide, socio-technical survey and implications for energy modelling

2015-02-10T14:41:03Z (GMT) by Tom Kane Steven Firth Kevin Lomas
Understanding heating patterns in UK homes is crucial for energy policy formulation, the design of new controls and heating systems, and for accurate stock modelling. Metrics to describe heating patterns are proposed along with methods for calculating them from measured room temperatures. The patterns of heating in 249 dwellings in Leicester, UK are derived from measured hourly temperatures and a face-to-face socio-technical survey. Of the 93% of homes that were centrally heated, 51% were heated for two periods each day and 33% were heated for only one period per day. The mean winter temperature in the rooms varied from 9.7°C to 25.7°C. Heating patterns varied significantly and systematically depending on the age of the householders and their employment status. Compared to younger households and those in employment, households with occupants over 60 and those unable to work, turned their heating on earlier in the year, heated for longer each day, and heated to higher temperatures. The indoor temperatures were much lower than those customarily assumed by BREDEM-based energy models and patterns of heating were quite different. Such models could seriously and systematically misrepresent the benefits of energy efficiency measures to some sectors of society.