Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical, Biomedical & Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Prof Ger Kelly

Second Advisor

Dr Garrett O'Sullivan


The European Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) 2011, ensures that all new Irish dwellings designed after 01st November 2019 are nearly zero energy (nZEB) dwellings. The Passive House (PH) standard has been the most commonly applied energy standard across the globe in recent decades, while overheating is identified as a growing issue in nZEB and PH dwellings. The EPBD requires all dwellings to be designed to reduce energy consumption, while considering general indoor climate conditions to avoid the negative effects of overheating. Overheating frequency simulations are not mandatory for dwellings under Irish legislation. Anticipated climate change trends will result in increased overheating in all dwellings in the coming decades. Following a state of the art literature review, this research focuses on a quantitative investigation of overheating frequency, in a standalone suburban dwelling located in Douglas, Cork, Ireland. The dwelling has a PHPP simulated space heat demand of 14.6kWh/m2.yr, while meeting nZEB standards. Temperature readings are recorded in each of the six habitable spaces between March 2016 and March 2017. Simultaneous measurements for outdoor air temperature and solar radiation are recorded. The analysis and evaluation of data, comprises a three tiered approach including; long-term, medium-term and short-term analysis of measured and PHPP simulated overheating. Averaging all measured temperatures from the different dwelling spaces to align with the PHPP simulated average dwelling temperature, cancels out 56.1% of overheating in bedroom zones across the year. The long-term analysis identifies that a medium emissions climate change scenario, will result in increased overheating in the test dwelling from 9.10% in 2020, to 31.91% by 2100. A high emissions scenario may result in an increase to 41.18% by 2100. The short-term analysis identifies that overheating is experienced at daytime peak outdoor temperatures as low as 11.2°C, while peak global solar radiation is measured at 716W/m² on the same day. The findings suggest that the impacts of climate change are ignored with the use historic climate data in Passive House Planning Package (PHPP), and monthly averages overlook the impact of extreme days in any month. The research findings propose that a more robust methodology for simulating overheating in passive house dwellings is necessary, while design of nZEB dwellings should include a mandatory overheating simulation.


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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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