Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sustainable Buildings Research Centre


Population growth and lifestyle incentives have led to an increase in the amount and proportion of people living in apartment dwellings in Australia’s capital and major regional cities. Concurrently, there have been ongoing increases in energy efficiency regulations for residential buildings in Australia in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated through energy used for space conditioning to maintain thermal comfort. However, there is uncertainty as to whether the intended benefits of these energy efficiency regulations are being realised due to uncertainties in the simulation-based compliance process. This issue is particularly significant for apartments as there is very little quantitative evidence of the thermal performance of Australian apartments, despite the introduction of energy efficiency regulations in 2005 and the significant apartment development boom that has occurred since then.

The underlying operating mechanism of these regulations is to enforce improvements to thermal performance of the building envelope. While regulations have increased the amount of insulation installed in dwellings, the estimated performance benefits may be overstated as, at the time of writing, thermal bridging effects are not considered in residential buildings.

The aims of this study were therefore to understand and quantify the thermal performance of a set of case-study apartments in Australia, and to compare this measured thermal performance to that simulated using the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) mandated building performance simulation (BPS) software and protocol of assumptions. The study also aimed to assess the impact of uncertainties associated with assumptions in the NatHERS protocol regarding thermal conditions, occupant behaviour, weather conditions, and building envelope performance. Finally, the study sought to quantify the impact of thermal bridging in apartments.

FoR codes (2008)

120202 Building Science and Techniques



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.