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Rapid energy savings in London's households to mitigate an energy crisis



The UK’s natural gas supply is considered secure, but a combination of events could compromise the continuity of supply. Reducing energy demand by implementing rapid energy saving measures has been effective in mitigating many electricity shortages globally to date. This thesis investigates whether similar measures could be effective in the UK in the event of a natural gas shortage, using a case study of London’s households. A mail survey was developed and sent to a sample of 1,600 households in London to investigate which energy saving actions respondents would implement in a gas shortage. The questionnaire suggested a hypothetical scenario, where the media and government asked households to save energy for one month and also included questions about the respondents, their households and their dwellings. The resulting energy savings were subsequently calculated for each household using ‘MESAH’, a computer model developed during this research. This model used energy saving estimates based on a review of literature about household activities that use energy. Using these assumptions, the savings achieved by the different households varied vastly, reaching an overall total of approximately 30% of normal gas and electricity use in January. This result was relatively stable during the winter season. It was however found to be very sensitive to assumptions taken about the energy savings, and whether the respondents implemented actions as stated in the survey. It also found that the different actions proposed had very disparate saving impacts. The savings calculated represent high estimates of energy saving potential, rather than predictions due to uncertainties and limitations in the research. The project identified rapid energy savings as an option for an emergency response, but stressed that this approach should only be taken in extreme situations
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... The domestic building sector's heating and cooking are responsible for more than 15% of overall carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the UK, and this sector experienced a 3.6% increase in energy consumption from 2015 to 2016 (Kaveh et al., 2018;Gupta et al., 2019). Household energy consumption is generally from cooking, cooling and lighting (Julien, 2013). However, existing buildings can lower energy consumption by introducing energy-efficient technologies and passive design systems are successfully oriented when retrofitting Tatarestaghi, Ismail & Ishak, 2018). ...
Many newly built, energy-efficient terraced houses are characterised by high indoor air temperatures and thermal comfort issues, because these state-of-the-art houses were designed and built without considering the warming climate conditions in the summer. As a result, many of these residential buildings are at risk of overheating and require careful implementation of passive cooling design systems when retrofitting. This study reviews the overheating risk and energy effectiveness of six passive design strategies tested and implemented in an innovative terraced house located in southeast London during the long-term heatwaves experienced in both the UK and continental Europe in the summer of 2018. A quantitative research methodology is employed based on an extensive monitoring campaign conducted to measure environmental conditions, including indoor air temperature, relative humidity and CO2 of each occupied space in a prototype base-case building. In the subsequent phase of the research, retrofit strategies were investigated by modelling and simulation using the Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) software suite for data validation. The preliminary results of the modelling and simulation confirmed the survey findings of high levels of occupant discomfort and relatively high cooling loads. The internal operating temperatures of the simulated rooms remained high throughout the day and night during the long-term heatwaves, ranging from a minimum of 24.7 °C to a maximum of 32.1 °C. The results highlight significant deviations in the estimated energy consumption of the base-case building as well as in the energetic and environmental indexes of the passive cooling design strategies. The study will contribute to the strategic design of retrofit interventions to effectively reduce cooling energy consumption by considering occupants’ thermal comfort, thermal adaptation and energy use.
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