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Establishing the zero-carbon performance of compact urban dwellings

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journal contribution
posted on 30.08.2013, 11:34 by L.A. Steijger, Richard Buswell, Vincent Smedley, Steven Firth, Paul Rowley
This paper presents an analysis of the zero-carbon performance of a case-study building which is representative of a growing number of new buildings that are being built on redevelopment sites in inner-city areas in the UK. Compact urban dwellings are apartment style buildings with a floor area of 50 m2 per dwelling, often based over two floors. The constraints of this type of building on achieving zero-carbon performance in the context of the Code for Sustainable Homes is discussed and the shortcomings of the code are demonstrated in terms of the target heat and electricity demand targets for the design of the building systems. A graphical representation of the simulation results is used to present the findings. It has been demonstrated that in specific urban contexts, zero-carbon performance as defined within the current UK compliance framework may be very difficult to achieve in practice given the assumptions used in the simulation here. Therefore, it is very likely that zero-carbon compact urban dwellings may require a net off-site import of electrical and/or thermal energy.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


STEIJGER, L.A. ... et al, 2013. Establishing the zero-carbon performance of compact urban dwellings. Journal of Building Performance Simulation, 6 (4), pp.319-334.


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This article was published in the serial Journal of Building Performance Simulation [Taylor and Francis Ltd © International Building Performance Simulation Association]. The definitive version is available at: