School of Planning Architecture and Civil Engineering
David Keir Building, Stranmillis Rd., BT9 5AG
Tel 028-9097 5606
tmcgrath03 at qub.ac.uk
MSc Environmental Engineering Queen’s University Belfast
Bachelors of Civil Engineering University College Dublin
Bursary winner - Energy Finance for Growth Event, Imperial College London 2015 – sponsored by The ScottishPower Foundation and support from the Heriot Watt University Energy Academy
Larmor University Studentship – Queen’s University Belfast Winner 2012-2013.
ESB - Universities Ireland North/South Postgraduate Scholarship Winner 2011-2012.
Winner of Review: Research & Innovation: Successful Models for Economic Impact by John V. Mc Canny from The Intel Lecture Series on Engineering Research & Innovation in Queen’s University Belfast – subsequently published in The Engineers Journal.
Comprehensive study of retrofitting practices for improving the energy efficiency of domestic buildings.
PhD project Description
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. 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.
I currently have ten case study houses across Northern Ireland that have undergone significant energy efficient retrofit upgrades. Building performance is being evaluated using short term and long term test. Short term testing such as thermal imaging and blower door tests of properties have been completed (Fig 1). Long term remote monitoring of energy usage and internal/external conditions such as temperature and humidity are being carried out (Fig 2). Building energy performance of each case study is being simulated in dynamic modelling software IES-VE (Fig 3). Modelling in IES-VE allows us to estimate how much energy the house is likely to currently use and provides the opportunity of testing scenarios such as upgrading insulation, windows etc. It also allows us to consider how the house will perform in future climates – for example gas usage for space heating in one case study house has been modelled in current and future climates, 2015 and 2080 (Fig 4). It shows that as our climate changes we may not need to heat our homes to the current extent as our weather becomes milder.
Dr. Sreejith Nanukuttan, Dr. Danielle Soban, Prof. Muhammed Basheer
Colclough, S & McGrath, T. (2015) Net Energy Analysis of a Solar Combi System with Seasonal Thermal Energy Store. Applied Energy. V147 pp 611-616.
McGrath, T.E., Nanukuttan, S.V.N., Owens, K., Basheer, P.A.M., Keig, P. (2012) Retrofit Vs. New Build Using Life Cycle Assessment. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability V166 pp. 122-137.
McGrath, T.E., Campbell, N., Nanukuttan, S. & Keig, P. (2013) Performance Monitoring of Low Energy Refurbishment in Present and Future Climate – Sustainable Building SB Dubai 2013, 8 – 10th December 2013
Campbell, N., Nanukuttan, S., Brown, S. & McGrath, T. (2013) Heat and Moisture Transport in Building Materials with Retrofitted Insulation – Sustainable Buliding SB Dubai 2013, 8 – 10th December 2013.
McGrath, T.E., Johnston, R.P.D., Nanukuttan. S., Lim, J.B.P. & Soutsos, M. (2012) Sustainability of Cold-Formed Steel Portal Frames in Malaysia. The Borneo Engineering Symposium on Cold Formed Steel Innovation – Kuching, 16th July 2012.
McGrath, T.E., Nanukuttan, S., Owens, K., Basheer, P.A.M. & Long, A.E. (2012) Concrete Production & Use: Embodied Energy & Carbon. International Conference on Durability of Concrete Structures – Queen’s University Belfast, 17-19th September 2012.
Climate Northern Ireland – Invited speaker at “Future Proofing New and Existing Buildings”- I presented work on how domestic building energy usage is likely to change in our future climate.
Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) – Invited speaker at “Engineering at Low Carbon Society” event – I presented my work on using life cycle assessment to assess building energy efficiency to a large group of civil and structural engineers at special event held at the ICE NI headquarters.
Hearth Housing Association Spring School - Invited speaker at “Hidden Gems to Heritage Jewels” – I presented my work on energy efficient retrofit for historic buildings to a diverse audience of building professionals, conservationists, housing associations and tenants.
Building performance & monitoring, building energy simulation, life cycle assessment, retrofitting / refurbishment of buildings, sustainability, energy efficiency, carbon foot-printing, climate change adaption, grid decarbonisation,