World's first energy house unveiled

The world's first energy house will be unveiled at a conference organised by the University of Salford in January.

Salford's energy house

Salford's energy house

This is the UK's first conference on the challenge of how to retrofit old homes to make them more energy efficient and takes place on 26 and 27 January.

Delegates will include technology providers, construction companies, installation companies, housing organisations and social landlords, local councils and local government and policy maker. They will share insights on sustainability challenges and the government's policies to meet them.

The subject has been highlighted by the recent government Green Deal plan, where homeowners can access funds, paid back through energy bills, to insulate and draft proof properties.

The energy house is a full-size traditional Coronation Street-style terraced house built in a laboratory to study domestic energy consumption.

To cost-effectively retrofit old properties and make them as carbon-efficient as possible requires detailed and robust research.

The house is fitted as a typical working home, built in the same style as 4.5m pre-1920 UK homes, with fully functioning water, gas and electricity supplies.

The university's academics are conducting tests inside the house to gauge how its energy consumption varies depending on variable factors and conditions.

The country's least efficient properties were predominantly constructed prior to 1920. These currently make up 15% of UK homes but actually account for 23% of total notional C02 emissions.

Recent research commissioned by Salford has also revealed that 50% of Registered Housing Providers do not yet have a retrofit plan.

This is in spite of the government's continuing commitment to the Warm Homes, Greener Homes strategy that has set a carbon emissions target of virtually zero from nearly all housing stock by 2050.

University of Salford vice-chancellor Martin Hall said: "This project is exciting because retro-fitting old properties to make them as carbon-efficient as possible will require detailed and robust research.

"If there is to be a step change in the UK to achieve our carbon emission reduction targets, it is essential decision-makers have sound evidence to ensure products are tested before being tried out in real homes.

"The data produced at the University of Salford will support the refurbishment sector and homeowners in making correct decisions when improve the energy performance of existing homes." Alison Brown



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