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

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conference contribution
posted on 2018-04-17, 14:26 authored by Ben M RobertsBen M Roberts, David AllinsonDavid Allinson, Kevin LomasKevin Lomas
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.


This research was made possible by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) support for the London-Loughborough Centre for Doctoral Research in Energy Demand (grant EP/L01517X/1). Loughborough University is acknowledged for funding the continued maintenance of the test houses and providing 24-hour security.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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CIBSE Technical Symposium


ROBERTS, B.M., ALLINSON, D. and LOMAS, K.J., 2018. Overheating in dwellings: a matched pair of test houses with synthetic occupants. Presented at the CIBSE Technical Symposium, London, UK, 12-13 April 2018.


Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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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 is a conference paper. The paper appears here with the permission of CIBSE.


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