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Energy retrofit of historic timber-frame buildings- Hygrothermal monitoring of building fabric

Whitman, Christopher, Prizeman, Oriel, Gwilliam, Julie, Walker, Pete and Shea, Andrew 2019. Energy retrofit of historic timber-frame buildings- Hygrothermal monitoring of building fabric. Presented at: International WTA-PRECOM³OS Conference: Preventive Conservation: From Climate and Damage Monitoring to a Systemic and Integrated Approach, Leuven, Belgium, 3-5 April 2019.

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Energy retrofits have been identified as a key action to decarbonize the UK’s building stock and improve hygrothermal comfort. When undertaken with sufficient knowledge and consideration, the energy retrofit of historic buildings can be successfully achieved. However, both aesthetic and technical issues must be fully understood in order to avoid unintended consequences. Research in the UK has focused on the predominant solid masonry construction, with little research covering the 68,000 timber-framed buildings that form an integral part of the UK and specifically England’s cultural identity. This paper covers research into this previously under-researched area. A key concern is the risk of elevated moisture content, increasing the potential for insect attack and fungal decay. This paper presents the use of in situ monitoring, digital simulation and laboratory testing to begin to assess this risk. In situ hygrothermal monitoring shows that in some instances, the combination of incompatible materials, flawed detailing, poor workmanship and lack of controlled ventilation can facilitate biological attack. Digital hygrothermal simulations with WUFI® Pro 5.3 and WUFI 2D suggest that orientation, climatic conditions and infill material all significantly influence the moisture content, however, no prolonged periods of hygrothermal conditions favorable to biological decay agents were identified. Initial monitoring of test panels under laboratory conditions support these results, however further long term monitoring is required, the funding for which is currently being sought.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Architecture
Related URLs:
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 May 2019
Date of Acceptance: 4 February 2019
Last Modified: 01 May 2019 13:30

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