If you can't measure the heat...

July 29, 2008

Accurate measurement of thermal performance is crucial if new government legislation aimed at producing dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions is to be successful. The UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is offering construction companies a way of meeting this mandate.

Two factors are making the need for accurate measurement of the thermal performance of building products ever more important. Firstly, the Code for Sustainable Homes published by the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2006 set a target of producing zero carbon homes by 2016.

The second is the draft Climate Change Bill with its declared intention of setting a legal framework for ensuring a specific reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 and a 60% reduction of 1990 levels by 2050. This will result in a constant stream of legislation and regulations aimed at minimising energy use in new buildings.

Approximately 45% of the United Kingdom's energy consumption goes on heating, cooling and lighting our buildings. The pressure to reduce the nation's carbon footprint will force a change in the current approach to building design. From now on, an accurate knowledge of the thermal performance (i.e. how efficiently they retain or lose heat) of building products and structures is going to be vital if the growing expectations of clients, consumers and the government are to be met.

Ray Williams, Principal Research Scientist at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) believes that accurate measurement of a product's thermal properties is crucial.

"These changes mean that anyone involved in construction, be they manufacturers of stand-alone building components such as doors, windows, roof windows and skylights or designers of masonry walls, curtain walls, roofs and floors need to prove that their products and designs meet stringent guidelines for thermal performance. If they cannot, they will not be able to sell their products," he says.

NPL has state of the art apparatus for measuring the thermal performance of insulation materials from 170 °C through room temperature and on up to 800 °C. It boasts the UK's only pipe insulation thermal performance measurement facility and one of very few 'HotBox' facilities for measuring the thermal performance of building structures ranging from masonry walls to windows, doors, roofs, wall and floor structures.

Source: National Physical Laboratory

Explore further: Science on the surface of a comet

Related Stories

Science on the surface of a comet

July 31, 2015

Complex molecules that could be key building blocks of life, the daily rise and fall of temperature, and an assessment of the surface properties and internal structure of the comet are just some of the highlights of the first ...

Robots under test for oil and gas rig duty

July 13, 2015

A robot building on ESA's ExoMars rover is bidding to win a place on oil and gas production rigs around the world, to work in remote and hazardous environments.

Engineers fine-tune new NASA space launch system

July 6, 2015

Researchers at the University of Georgia College of Engineering are helping NASA determine if a key rocket component can withstand the rigors of the next generation of space flight.

Recommended for you

Magnetism at nanoscale

August 3, 2015

As the demand grows for ever smaller, smarter electronics, so does the demand for understanding materials' behavior at ever smaller scales. Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory are building a unique ...

Study calculates the speed of ice formation

August 3, 2015

Researchers at Princeton University have for the first time directly calculated the rate at which water crystallizes into ice in a realistic computer model of water molecules. The simulations, which were carried out on supercomputers, ...

Small tilt in magnets makes them viable memory chips

August 3, 2015

University of California, Berkeley, researchers have discovered a new way to switch the polarization of nanomagnets, paving the way for high-density storage to move from hard disks onto integrated circuits.

Scientists bring order, and color, to microparticles

August 3, 2015

A team of New York University scientists has developed a technique that prompts microparticles to form ordered structures in a variety of materials. The advance, which appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society ...

Rogue wave theory to save ships

July 29, 2015

Physicists have found an explanation for rogue waves in the ocean and hope their theory will lead to devices to warn ships and save lives.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.