The conference is the first in the UK dedicated to the challenge of how to sustainably retrofit existing housing stock.

Statistics from the Communities and Local Government English House Condition Survey show that 70% of the country’s residential property will still be inhabited in 2050 and 91% of all UK homes would benefit substantially from improvements in energy efficiency.

The UK’s least efficient properties were predominantly constructed prior to 1920 and account for around 15% of UK homes. Improved insulation and boiler upgrades alone could see heating emissions reduced by 22%.

The University of Salford’s new Energy Hub is a multi-disciplinary research centre drawing on the expertise of over 25 academics from 13 departments, and a centre of excellence for energy research in the UK.

The Minister told delegates he that he understood the challenges conurbations like Salford presented with regards to housing renewal and energy efficiency, having first stood (unsuccessfully) as a prospective Conservative candidate for Eccles.

He outlined how industry needs to work closely with universities such as Salford to drive innovation and to develop pragmatic solutions to achieve the government’s emissions targets.
He praised the University of Salford for creating the Energy Hub facility and described it as being at the “cutting edge of research”.

The conference also saw the unveiling of the Energy House, a fully functioning terraced house that has been built to monitor domestic energy consumption within aged housing stock.

It will act as a test-bed for new materials, behavioural studies and innovative theories linked to sustainability.

Alison Brown

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