Overheating in dwellings: a matched pair of test houses with synthetic occupants

Summertime overheating is increasingly prevalent in both new and existing UK dwellings. High internal temperatures can be dangerous to vulnerable occupants, disrupt sleep and cause thermal discomfort. The mitigation or exacerbation of overheating through simple occupant interventions like window opening and blind use needs better understanding if homes are to be comfortable and safe in summer without the use of air conditioning. This paper describes the adaptation of two adjoining, semi-detached houses to create a matched pair of test houses for full-scale, side-by-side overheating experiments under real weather conditions. Synthetic occupancy was installed to allow dynamic remote control of actuated windows, motorised curtains, automated internal doors and internal heat gains. The houses were instrumented with calibrated sensors to measure the internal and external environment. The results of the experiments conducted in summer 2017 will be presented in a future paper. These instrumented, matched pair homes can be used to accurately quantify the effects on energy demand, internal temperatures and air quality of occupant behaviours and different heating, cooling and ventilation technologies.