School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering
McGrath, Ms. T
David Keir Building,
Queen’s University Belfast
PhD Title: Comprehensive study of retrofitting practices for improving the energy efficiency of houses.
Supervisors: Dr. S. Nanukuttan & Prof. P.A.M. Basheer.
The Climate Change Act (2008) saw the UK government set legally binding targets to reduce 80% of its CO2eq output (calculated based on 1990 levels) by year 2050. Each of the devolved authorities of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have similar targets.
Buildings make up a significant proportion of CO2eq emissions. In the 1970’s the domestic sector used 24-27% of energy with this number increasing to 28-31% in recent years. There has also been an increase of domestic energy consumption of 36% mainly attributable to the continual growth of the number of households. In an effort to reduce emissions, legislation requires that by 2016 all new built houses will be required to be zero carbon. What is even more pressing than the new build constructions is the emissions from existing building stock in the UK. The existing housing stock in the UK is aged and underperforming with the most recent standard assessment procedure (SAP) ratings being approximately 52 which corresponds to an energy efficiency rating of ‘E’. Previous studies have given predictions based on assumptions such as population growth and demolition rates indicate that between 60 to 80% of housing stock of 2050 is already standing. It has already been highlighted that a widespread retrofitting programme of approximately 25 millions homes will be required, with the majority of housing attaining a SAP rating of 81 or better, i.e., an energy efficiency rating of at least B.
The aim of the project is to develop a comprehensive decision making process for different retrofitting practices for improving the energy efficiency of houses. This will be achieved by considering a holistic approach on the selection of materials used for retrofitting. The emphasis will be given on the environmental impacts, embodied energy, energy efficiency during operational stage and cost efficiency of the materials and assembly used. It is hoped that the outcome of the project will encourage life cycle thinking in construction industry.
Masters of Environmental Engineering (Distinction) Queen’s University Belfast.
Bachelors of Civil Engineering (Hons) University College Dublin, Ireland.
2011-2012 ESB-Universities Ireland North/South Postgraduate Award
Winning review of Research & Innovation: Successful Models for Economic Impact by John V. Mc Canny from The Intel Lecture Series on Engineering Research & Innovation
Publications / Media
McGrath, T.E., Nanukuttan, S.V., Owens, K., Keig, P.R. & Basheer, P.A.M. (2012) Retrofit Vs. New Build House using Life Cycle Assessment. Engineering Sustainability. Vol DOI .
McGrath, T.E. (2012) Review of Research & Innovation: Successful Models for Economic Impact by John V. Mc Canny. The Engineers Journal. Engineers Ireland, Dublin. June 2012.
Life cycle assessment, retrofitting / refurbishment of buildings, sustainability, energy efficiency, carbon foot-printing, climate change adaption, grid decarbonisation, building performance & monitoring.