Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type

Theses, Masters


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Architecture engineering

Publication Details

Submitted for the degree of Master of Science (MSc), School of the Built Environment, University of Ulster, May 2010.


In Ireland the predominant house type is detached housing which constitutes 43 % of entire stock. 72% of the detached housing stock is rurally located and 68% is heated by fuel oil. 82% of houses in Ireland have a radiator heating system. Detached housing, due to larger size and high surface area to volume ratio, has a greater heat loss per m2 than all other house types of the same construction period. It follows that, if a heat pump can be successfully deployed in a house of this type it can be successfully deployed in almost all other house types and thus detached dwellings becomes the case study of this investigation.

The investigation found the economic and carbon case for fabric improvement measures to be categorical; fabric improvement measures can reduce cost and CO2 emissions from their current levels by up to 65% for older housing (pre 1979) and by even 40% in newer housing. Fabric improvement measures can realise the greatest potential for carbon emissions savings and shall contribute the greatest share of our European Directives on energy efficiency.

This analysis confirms that the integration of heat pumps into fabric improved dwellings is both viable and desirable from an economic and energy efficiency standpoint. The results prove that heat pumps can be successfully employed in both new and older housing and into heating systems serving radiators without the necessity of replacing the existing radiators and still realise an average saving of 30% in both cost and CO2 emissions.

In addition to an examination of overall detached residential sector energy usage and CO2 emissions the report presents the following;

  • An updated profile of the housing stock using data from the Census 2006 and the Irish National Survey of Housing Quality (INSHQ) 2001-2002
  • Offers and update on data used in the only previous housing study in Ireland which was carried out in 2001;
  • Identifies key data gaps, such as the lack of robust, end use data and suggests areas for further study;
  • Comments on current government energy policy measures for the promotion of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in Ireland.