Loughborough University
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Energy efficiency refurbishment of UK owner-occupied homes: the householders’ perspective

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posted on 2017-06-26, 11:10 authored by Kate Simpson
Owner-occupiers represent 63.1% of UK households (ONS, 2016); a key group to focus attention on as a means to increase domestic energy efficiency rates (Risholt et al, 2013). The experiences of early-adopters of measures such as external wall insulation within this group may affect the future adoption rates, through word-of mouth referrals (McMichael & Shipworth, 2013). Householders’ are often willing to tolerate disruption, but unexpected delays or complications can cause considerable stress (Vadodaria et al., 2010). Negative attitudes can develop towards a refurbishment experience due to technological faults or internal disputes leading to problems with workmanship (Crosbie and Baker, 2010). These experiences can lead to dissatisfaction with the experience and potentially the refurbishment outcome in terms of energy demand and living environment comfort. This study has followed ten owner-occupied case study households through an energy efficiency refurbishment process. Householders’ were interviewed pre, during and post refurbishment over a period of one year, with a focus on the expectations and experiences of the refurbishment in terms of process and potential changes to thermal environment comfort and space heating energy demand. The interview data were triangulated with measurements of internal air temperature, air leakage tests and space heating energy use in addition to space heating energy modelling, using a version of the Standard Assessment Procedure (2009). The findings show that in terms of refurbishment process, measures which installers’ have more apparent experience in, such as combination boiler or window replacements have few unexpected events and outcomes, whereas measures such as external wall insulation and air leakage sealing can lead to refurbishment delays or dissatisfaction with workmanship. Two households exceeded the 2050 target for an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions from space heating. Nine improved thermal environment comfort levels, as supported by measurements. However the impact on householder perceptions of disruption and workmanship may affect future uptake. Policy and installer recommendations are made including the need for consistent policy and urgent improvements to installer customer service, energy efficiency expertise and skills.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


© Kate Simpson

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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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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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