Warmth use and thermal efficiency of remote dwellings: a Scotland case study.
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Previous research has shown that warmth demand in the UK has not gone down while thermal efficiency has gone up. Causes for this are disputed. This research attempts to shed light on the relationship between thermal efficiency and warmth use. Additionally, researched was what implications warmth demand of dwellings in remote areas in particular may have on CO2 emissions, household expenditure and fuel poverty. The goal is to develop a method to measure domestic warmth use and thermal efficiency from inside temperature data and to find how various degrees of remoteness influence warmth demand for households and to analyze the implications on CO2 emissions, fuel poverty and vulnerability of households. This research uses inside temperature data reports derived from smart meters in order to identify areas of high warmth use and low thermal efficiency. Identifying these areas by means of improved monitoring may help tackle fuel poverty and decrease warmth demand. Smart meters reporting inside temperature data are uncommon types although the additional information on inside temperatures can add value for monitoring warmth demand, as this research proves. Monitors reporting the inside dwelling temperature at 5 minute intervals were used and proved able to estimate and analyze the warmth use factors heater activity, thermal efficiency, warmth use and comfort temperature in 369 dwellings in Eastern Scotland. The research shows that remote area dwellings tend to have higher warmth demand which is correlated with their lower thermal efficiency. In addition, energy sources used for fulfilling this demand tend to be more costly and CO2 emitting in rural dwellings than in urban areas. For further research it is proposed higher spatial and temporal resolution of outside temperature recordings could improve the accuracy with which the warmth use factors were measured, and that humidity, wind speed and wind direction should be taken into the equation in addition to outside temperature.