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Energy performance of Scottish public buildings and its impact on their ability to use low-temperature heat

Reguis, Antoine; Tunzi, Michele; Vand, Behrang; Tuohy, Paul; Currie, John


Michele Tunzi

Paul Tuohy


Decarbonising heat in the UK by 2050 will require the wider adoption of low-temperature heat. Current systems, largely relying on gas boilers, have design operating temperatures of 82/71°C (supply/return) while new standards for 4th Generation District Heating are 55/25°C. Local authorities must set-up strategies to get their buildings “Heat network ready” but this raises the question of the ability for existing buildings to use low-temperature heat. The aim and the novelty of this paper is to establish a relationship between an energy ‘performance gap’ in Scottish public buildings and their ability to use low-temperature heat. This performance gap has been evaluated for 121 non-domestic buildings, primarily schools, operated by The City of Edinburgh Council. Space heating system are assumed oversized by 10%. The results show that renovation of the building envelope, while highly desirable, is not a pre-requisite for using low-temperature heat in pre-1980 constructed buildings, which represent 64% of the stock. It also highlights that post-1980 buildings, predominantly utilising mechanical ventilation systems, demonstrate an increasing performance gap which could limit their ability to use reduced operating temperature, especially in windy conditions.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 6, 2023
Online Publication Date Apr 13, 2023
Publication Date 2023-07
Deposit Date Apr 17, 2023
Publicly Available Date Apr 17, 2023
Journal Energy and Buildings
Print ISSN 0378-7788
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 290
Article Number 113064
Keywords Performance gap, low-temperature heat, public buildings, 4GDH, district heating, non-domestic, Scotland, local authorities, radiator output, oversizing, U-values


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