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Air PermeAbility: Cities Health Energy (APACHE)

Lead:

  • Dr Anna Mavrogianni (The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies)

Main collaborator:

  • Dr Catalina Spataru (UCL Energy Institute)

Building air permeability is the uncontrolled leakage of outside air into the building space. This can occur at numerous points: through cracks, gaps around doors and windows, as well as through the roof, floor and gaps around pipes and ducts. Air can also leak through porous construction materials such as brick or blocks.

Air leakage through the building envelope contributes to ventilation, heating and cooling costs and has an impact on moisture migration and indoor air quality. Air change currently accounts for approximately 35% of total space conditioning energy used in buildings in the domestic and non-domestic building stock in the UK. Leakier homes are, thus, characterised by higher space heating needs and, as a consequence, higher CO2 emissions.

This project aims to initiate new research cooperation to support the development of multidisciplinary techniques to critically review air permeability in dwellings in the UK and collate the existing evidence on the building fabric permeability levels into a comprehensive database that facilitates in depth analysis. Due to the current plans for decarbonisation of the national energy grid, the energy infrastructure will soon experience major changes. However, more than 60% of the approximately 26 million existing dwellings will still be standing in 2050. It is necessary to effectively adopt strategies to improve the energy efficiency of the existing building stock.