The reliability of inverse modelling for the wide scale characterization of the thermal properties of buildings

Alfonso P. Ramallo-González, Matthew Brown, Elizabeth Gabe-Thomas, Tom Lovett, David A. Coley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)
156 Downloads (Pure)


The reduction of energy use in buildings is a major component of greenhouse gas mitigation policy and requires knowledge of the fabric and the occupant behaviour. Hence there has been a longstanding desire to use automatic means to identify these. Smart metres and the internet-of-things have the potential to do this. This paper describes a study where the ability of inverse modelling to identify building parameters is evaluated for 6 monitored real and 1000 simulated buildings. It was found that low-order models provide good estimates of heat transfer coefficients and internal temperatures if heating, electricity use and CO2 concentration are measured during the winter period. This implies that the method could be used with a small number of cheap sensors and enable the accurate assessment of buildings’ thermal properties, and therefore the impact of any suggested retrofit. This has the potential to be transformative for the energy efficiency industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-83
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Building Performance Simulation
Issue number1
Early online date17 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018



  • energy efficiency
  • inverse modelling
  • lumped parameter model
  • smart metre

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Computer Science Applications

Cite this