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Closing the energy performance gap in zero carbon homes - pro-active identification, prioritisation and mitigation of causes using FMEA.

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conference contribution
posted on 2016-01-12, 12:06 authored by Colin Hobart, Derek ThomsonDerek Thomson, Andrew Dainty, Scott FernieScott Fernie, Douglas Drewniak
The energy consumption of new homes in the UK routinely exceeds design predictions, in some cases by more than 100%. Work to date suggests multiple causes for this so-called “performance gap”, ranging from technical/design issues through to procurement and behavioural influences. These varied causes are often difficult to detect and may be viewed as trivial or inevitable by the parties responsible for them. Addressing these issues not only requires concurrent technical and organisational solutions, but also a means of predicting which issues are likely to be significant for a given project. In the manufacturing industry this scenario is often addressed using a methodology called Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA). Although some building component manufacturers make use of FMEA, there is little documented evidence of this technique being applied at the whole building level. In this paper we argue that FMEA is potentially well suited to addressing the energy performance gap for dwellings, but that the approach must be carefully tailored to achieve this task. The Bicester Ecotown Process Improvement Toolkit (BEPIT) research project provides a unique opportunity to develop and test this technique, by means of an iterative application of FMEA on a development of 393 true zero carbon homes. The first iteration is described in terms of both the methodological development, and the performance effect produced at project level. This learning in turn informs a discussion of the wider potential for the use of FMEA to close the energy performance gap. It is argued that the method and approach might be applicable to other building types where similar performance concerns exist.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Published in

Proceedings 31st Annual ARCOM Conference


307 - 316


HOBART, C. ...et al., 2015. Closing the energy performance gap in zero carbon homes - pro-active identification, prioritisation and mitigation of causes using FMEA. In: Raiden, A. and Aboagye-Nimo, E. (Eds.), Proceedings 31st Annual ARCOM Conference, 7-9 September 2015, Lincoln, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, pp. 307-316.


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This paper is presented with kind permission of Arcom, the definitive version can be found at: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/3f85e692df147656ee6e2b09f2d83ded.pdf




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Lincoln, UK