A comparison between thermostat and thermostatic radiator valve setpoint temperatures in UK social housing
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In the UK, in centrally heated dwellings, space heating is commonly controlled by a whole house thermostat as well as thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) fitted on individual radiators. TRV settings define a setpoint temperature at which the radiator is switched off, in order to regulate zonal temperatures. This paper presents an analysis of the TRV setpoint temperatures which occupants’ select in living rooms and main bedrooms and provides a comparison between these and the whole house thermostat setting. The work capitalises on primary data from a socio-technical household survey undertaken in a sample of social housing in Plymouth, UK during 2015. The mean reported TRV setpoint temperature in the living rooms (n = 144) and bedrooms (n = 120) were 23.4°C and 22.1°C respectively. This result confirms that occupants prefer cooler conditions in their bedrooms and also suggests that occupants are actively using their TRVs to zonally control their heating at home to maintain comfortable thermal conditions and reduce their heating energy demand. The results also indicate that occupants’ thermostat and TRV setpoint temperatures vary according to their household and motivation, behaviour and perception characteristics. The mean reported thermostat setpoint temperature was 20.7°C for those who reported a living room TRV setting and 20.9°C for those who reported a bedroom TRV setting. This result suggests that there may be a misunderstanding of the purposes of the whole house thermostat and the individual TRVs within a central heating system. Variations in occupant heating control behaviour have an impact on occupant comfort and household energy use. The results of this study have significant implications for the planning and implementation of energy efficiency measures, behaviour change interventions as well as the design of heating controls.
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