Effects of fabric retrofit insulation in a UK high-rise social housing building on temperature take-back

Carlos Calderon, Macarena Beltran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a two year long empirical study on the effects of fabric retrofit insulation on a high rise social housing building (a 23-storey block with 157 flats) in Newcastle upon Tyne (UK). The study has followed a quasi-experimental approach coupled with qualitative methods and examines whether temperature take-back is taking place; whether it operates independently of socio economic characteristics due to saturation effects; and the relationship between temperature take-back, physical factors and occupant’s behavioural change. The presented empirical evidence suggests that, first, temperature take-back as extra warmth (or energy consumption savings) is not occurring. Second, the saturation effect has taken place. This supports the assumption that temperature take-back decreases owing to saturation effects when pre-intervention internal temperatures saturate (approaching 21 °C) in lieu of the hypothesis that low-income householders take the benefits of an energy efficiency intervention as extra warmth rather than energy savings. Third, an upper level or maximum take-back temperature was achieved for the dwellings ranging from 20.85 °C to 24.81 °C. Fourth, behavioural factors such as turning on the heating appear to be less relevant than physical factors such as energy-efficiency improvements to explain the increased of standardised mean internal air temperature. The study also suggests that local building characteristics (e.g. heating pipes routing) play an influential role and that to evaluate appropriateness of retrofitted energy-efficiency insulation measures pre-intervention variables such as internal temperatures, heating system and building fabric performance should be taken into account.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-488
Number of pages19
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Early online date15 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Energy and Buildings. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Energy and Buildings, 173 (2018)
DOI: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.05.046

© 2018, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.05.046


  • Buildings
  • Temperature take-back
  • Social housing
  • Retrofit
  • Energy Efficiency


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of fabric retrofit insulation in a UK high-rise social housing building on temperature take-back'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this