Over the course of this module we have learnt the basic principles of zero carbon design and used IES Virtual Environment software, to simulate the retrofitting of a terraced Victorian house model. We successfully achieved a retrofit of -98kg C02 emissions. IES allowed us to add and adjust the existing structure, to achieve lower U-value constructions and add alternative energy sources to the model, e.g. solar panels and biogas fuel. Room conditions were an important factor as controlling temperature and lighting within spaces helped reduce emissions; reflecting ‘real-life’ forecast simulations.
This program has given me a detailed understanding of embodied energy, thermal resistance, U-value and renewable energy. Zero carbon retrofit is proven by the Birmingham Zero Carbon House, however for high quality retrofit to become more mainstream, I think that the software should adopt a more user-friendly interface, for it to be used as a design tool initially (RIBA work stage 2) and not something that is added later on.