Academics criticise competence of energy modellers

In the CIBSE Journal of Building Services Engineering Research & Technology, and then subsequently covered by The Times and Telegraph newspapers in early May, it was reported that the lack of competence of energy modellers was a significant factor in the ‘energy performance gap’, the difference between a buildings theoretical and actual energy performance.

During the research undertaken by the Building Services Engineering Research and Technology Department of the University of Bath, 108 "building modellers" were contacted and asked to consider, using a proprietary  building performance simulation tool, on the importance and accuracy of 21 input variables relevant to the assessment of an existing semi detached house. The researchers concluded that industry and university need to take steps to improve the competence of such modellers, and their understanding of building physics.

Elmhurst Energy is the largest accreditation body of energy ‘assessors’ in the UK and has a key role to play. Some journalists linked the research to EPCs when in reality the research made no mention of them; there is also no suggestion the building modellers where themselves accredited energy assessors and even the modelling tool is not approved for by Government to produce EPCs. However if the conclusion is energy assessors need to have high levels of competence in order to draw the right conclusions, and give the best advice then we agree.

Elmhurst has done much to raise the standards if energy assessors and in the last year we have;

  • trained and qualified 6,500 energy assessors
  • delivered over 1,000 continuing professional development courses

And to raise standards we have introduced;

  • a training and certification scheme for U value calculations
  • a training and certification scheme for undertaking Psi value calculations

Going forward we would welcome the development of a competency scheme for building performance simulation tools, to ensure that their users are both trained and tested, and receive ongoing continuing professional development to ensure competence remains current.

 


To read the story in the Daily Telegraph of 2nd May 2017 click here

 

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