Code Level 4 Homes in Bicester - Phase 2


Understanding the 'real' energy consumption in low carbon houses.


The study aims to broaden our understanding on the energy performance of low-carbon homes and close the feedback loop between design aspiration and performance in use. The study will:

  • Improve performance by providing feedback on how tenants use their houses and understand the installed equipment.
  • Establish the in-use performance of Hempcrete as external fabric, resolve any possible drawbacks and refine its future use.
  • Look at the effect of thermal mass on summer-time overheating as well as overall energy and water use and provision of a comfortable and healthy environment for the occupants.
  • Study the usability, effectiveness and robustness of the microgeneration solutions.


A two year in-use Building Performance Evaluation study will take place in two case study houses including:

  • Metering, sub-metering and spot measurements
  • Review of metering and sub metering arrangements, installation and testing of monitoring equipment to measure the performance of PVs, Solar thermal and Exhaust Air Heat Pump (EAHP), airtightness testing, thermographic survey
  • In-use monitoring of environmental conditions
  • Monitoring of internal and external environmental conditions, occupancy levels, openings usage, indoor air quality levels Occupant studies and energy audit
  • Initial meeting with occupants, walkthroughs and interviews, BUS questionnaire survey, activities logging, diaries, energy audit using DomEARM


The Phase 2 study aims to complete the picture of the overall performance of this innovative project which will then feed forward into future developments. In particular:

  • It will provide information on the overall energy performance of these house types in use and the effect of user behaviour on building performance.
  • Establish the actual performance of Hempcrete as an innovative construction material.
  • Study the efficiency and robustness of all the technologies and materials used.
  • Generate a knowledge base of building performance for wider dissemination within the industry.



  • Gupta, R. and Chandiwala, S. (2009) Achieving low carbon buildings using Code for Sustainable Homes in the UK. International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies (4), pp.187-196 DOI: 10.1093/ijlct/ctp018


Workshops & Conferences

  • Sustainability in Energy and Buildings, SEB'12
    Conference paper: Understanding the gap between ‘as designed’ and ‘as built’ performance of a new low carbon housing development in UK Dated: September 2012


Low Carbon Building Group

Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP