Research Output
Optimisation of timber frame closed panel systems for low energy buildings.
  The United Kingdom published a legally binding document to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by year 2020 up to 34% against the 1990 levels. This target also fulfils the Europe 2020 strategy of 20% carbon emission reductions by year 2020 (EC, 2010). Emissions due to space heating count for around 60% of the total domestic emissions (DCLG, 2012). The report “Rethinking Construction” published in 1998 emphasised the opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of the UK construction sector (Egan, 1998). More recently, a framework has been published by the Government to tackle fuel poverty by building more energy efficient homes (DECC, 2015). In terms of energy performance, Passivhaus is recognised as one of the most energy efficient and researched construction standards which requires an exceptionally high-level of insulation and airtightness.
Closed-panel timber frames are a relatively new system in UK with an opportunity for growth. These advanced panels are pre-fitted in the factory, reducing the on-site work. However, closed-panel systems present a more complex sole plate fixing detail which can have an undesirable long-term impact on the structural and thermal performance of the building. The work presented in this thesis investigates the structural considerations, racking performance, of timber frame closed panel systems for future building regulations. The thesis underlines the significance of structural stability, serviceability and detailing in relationship with long-term thermal efficiency and airtightness, according to Passivhaus standard.
An experimental study was carried out to investigate the structural racking performance of advanced closed panel systems. A comparison was made between the behaviour of the timber frame panels and the analytical PD 6693-1. A set of different wall panel built-ups is presented for optimised Passivhaus design, including thermal bridge-free sole plate details. A timber frame racking software application was developed to optimise the structural design of shear walls. A parametric study was carried out with this tool to generate efficient timber frame wall design tables for different applied racking loads and U-values. The software application also allows for direct specification of robust sole plate base fixings and thermal bridge free details.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    31 October 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    TH Building construction

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    691 Building materials

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Amigo, J. M. Optimisation of timber frame closed panel systems for low energy buildings. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from



Timber Frame, Closed Panel Systems, Buildings, Low Energy,

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