Product Developments and Patents

The Leeds Sustainability Institute (LSI) is regularly approached by industry to help develop their products for commercialisation or to undertake proof of concept evaluations. This has led to products being adopted into policy funding schemes as well as the development of patents.

LSI staff currently sit on the OFGEM Innovation Technical Advisory Panel which advises on how new innovative products can be adopted into energy policy, specifically the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), so we are well placed to help you design robust experiments to ensure your products can satisfy the requirements of standards and testing houses.

Below are case studies related to this research and access to all our research on behaviour change.

Product developments and patents case studies

Developing an innovative solution for eaves insulation

Thermal bridging calculations that were undertaken to assess the thermal performance of the ARC T-Barrier product. The calculations were undertaken by the Centre for the Built Environment within the Leeds Sustainability Institute at Leeds Metropolitan University as part of a collaborative project with the product’s developer ARC Building Solutions Limited. The project was supported by a Technology Strategy Board Innovation Voucher.

Designs for the party wall/external wall abutment junction for masonry and timber-frame constructions were thermally modelled to compare the thermal bridging attributes of junctions with the ARC T-Barrier product installed against junctions with a more conventional cavity barrier product that is also manufactured by the company. Comparisons were also made with the published linear thermal transmittance (Ψ-value) for the corresponding Accredited Construction Details (ACD). Potential options for improving the ARC T-Barrier product for use in timber-frame applications were explored.

Research outputs

For more information about this project please contact us.

Investigating the performance of novel floor insulation

It is estimated that around 80% of UK homes have uninsulated ground floors despite substantial benefits that can be achieved when retrofitted. The benefits of insulation are often measured via disaggregated elemental point heat flux measurements, to calculate in situ U-values. However, previous work suggests that this approach may be unreliable due to the heterogeneous nature of building elements. This paper presents the results obtained from a series of aggregate and disaggregate in situ fabric performance tests on a case study dwelling that has undergone a suspended timber ground floor insulation retrofit. The results demonstrate that the most appropriate method to adopt to assess the impact of ground floor insulation retrofits would be to adopt an aggregate measurement approach, which measures the change in overall dwelling HTC, rather than a series of changes in point heat flux measurements.  By adopting such an approach, it was found that the HTC was reduced by 43 ± 18 W/K, which is equivalent to a 24% reduction. The tests also found that the case study house was twice as leaky as the average UK house and a heat loss of 18.2 W/K was attributed to a reduction in infiltration via Sherman’s N/20 assumption.

Research outputs

  • Glew, D., Johnston, D., Miles Shenton ,D., Thomas, F., (In press), Measuring the effects of ground floor insulation, Building Research & Information, tbc

Evaluating the performance of novel internal wall insulation

This report presents the preliminary findings from before and after building performance evaluation (BPE) field trials undertaken to measure the impact of six TIWI and one conventional IWI retrofits. Their impact on thermal bridging and hygrothermal models identified how they affected moisture risk. Dynamic simulation models predicted the energy demand reductions to evaluate potential carbon and fuel bill savings. Coheating test measured the reduction in the heat transfer coefficient (HTC) measured in W/K, which describes the holistic impact on the home’s heating demand.  In addition, blower door tests and heat flux measurements quantified the difference that the retrofits had on infiltration (uncontrolled air leakage) and fabric heat loss, i.e. wall U-value measured in W/m²K, respectively. Appraisal of the installation costs and how the TIWI products could overcome installation barriers was undertaken, supported by surveys in 100 homes to identify insulation and dwelling characteristics that affected costs or risks, such as requirements to replace plumbing, boilers and radiators, apply decoration or repair damp walls.

Research outputs

This project is currently in progress, if you would like any more information, please contact us.

Investigating the impact of heating system deaerators

In the UK, approximately 16% of the energy use can be attributed to domestic wet central heating systems. Government financial support and advances in technology have led to boilers becoming more efficient and a range of technologies are now available that claim to be able to improve the efficiency of domestic wet central heating systems. One such low-cost technology is a passive deaerator.

This article presents the results obtained from installing a passive deaerator on the closed loop of a gas-fired wet central heating system, under controlled conditions in the Salford Energy House. The results indicate that although marginally less heat output was required from the boiler when the passive deaerator was operating, these savings are more or less out weighted by the boiler short cycling more frequently. Consequently, the overall reduction is gas consumption achieved by utilising the passive deaerator device is only of the order of 0.5%; this scale of savings may just be a consequence of measurement noise. The implications are that although a marginal benefit may be attributed to these products, if short cycling takes place, then these savings may become insignificant. Practical application: This article describes a test method that has been used to quantify the energy savings that could be achieved by installing a passive deaerator on the closed loop of a wet central heating system. Although the results indicate that the energy savings associated with using such a device are likely to be marginal, the test method described could be used to test a range of other devices that claim to improve the performance of domestic wet central heating systems, to directly compare before and after performance.

Research outputs

  • Johnston, D.K., Glew, D., Miles-Shenton, D., Benjaber, M. and Fitton, R. (2016) Quantifying the performance a passive deaerator in a gas-fired closed loop domestic wet central heating system, Building Services Engineering Research and Technology, 38, 3, 269–286

A product to complement EWI and combat condensation risk

Mould growth and surface condensation are problems for many dwellings, and the retrofitting of insulation can increase the risk of these occurring. This is especially the case for historical solid wall properties receiving external wall insulation (EWI), which often have architectural details at the roof eaves that cause discontinuities in the insulation and so can result in excessive thermal bridging. This paper presents the results of an investigation into retrofitted solid wall properties where modelling is used to investigate the problem and effectiveness of insulated coving products which are designed to reducing thermal bridging. Thermal modelling is undertaken to establish the optimum design to reduce risk. The insulated coving was found to be effective in reducing thermal bridging in all the scenarios investigated and to reduce moisture risks occurring in some solid walls situations.

Research outputs

  • Glew, D., Brooke-Peat, M. and Gorse, C. (2017) Modelling insulated coving's potential to reducing thermal bridging and moisture risk in solid wall dwellings retrofitted with external wall insulation, Journal of Building Engineering, 216-223

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