New research lab aims to tackle carbon emissions from homes across the globe

Last updated: 6th September 2022

See inside the lab in Manchester that can create rain, sun, and wind to test our homes for carbon efficiency

It might look like your typical Salford terrace home and could easily fool you into thinking it was built in 1919, but this house is different – it’s not lived in, but its fully functional – and it’s built inside a huge research chamber that can simulate all kinds of weather and temperature.

Representing 21% of the UK’s housing stock, and set inside a pioneering research facility at the University of Salford, Energy House has been in operation since 2010, providing researchers and businesses the opportunity to test products that offer solutions to reduce the amount of carbon leaking from our historic properties.

Representing 21% of the UK’s housing stock, and set inside a pioneering research facility at the University of Salford, Energy House has been in operation since 2010, providing researchers and businesses the opportunity to test products that offer solutions to reduce the amount of carbon leaking from our historic properties.

By conducting repeatable experiments in the chamber with variables, researchers are able to provide detailed data at the whole house level and gain a greater understanding that will help to address the UK and global retrofit challenge.

Now in a second stage of the Energy House project, a new £16m research facility is under construction, named Energy House 2.0, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The facility will build on the current research at the University of Salford, with new opportunities to tackle the effects of global carbon emissions from homes and small commercial properties across the world.

How Energy House 2.0 will look when completed

The facility will allow researchers to measure the effects of extreme weathers not just in the UK but replicate 95% of the world’s climates across two environmental chambers that can achieve temperatures of between -20˚C and +40˚C, also simulating wind, rain, snow and solar light, allowing the facility to target a global market of businesses, researchers and expertise.

The Energy House 2.0 project is being constructed with partners Bowmer and Kirkland, AECOM and NG Bailey, and is due to be completed in early 2022. It will offer a focus on global issues such as off-site construction, smart homes, and energy use.

Energy House 2.0 under construction

Professor William Swan, Director of Energy House Laboratories at The University of Salford said: “We had an existing facility, the Salford Energy House, which was a high risk venture in 2010. However, we soon discovered it addressed a major gap in helping businesses and other stakeholders quickly understand how innovations could be applied by allowing us to conduct repeatable experiments.

“The Energy House 2.0 facility would go a step further than the original concept. It would allow for a much wider range of temperatures and conditions to be tested, covering 95% of the populated globe, as well as provide the ability to build any type of domestic or small commercial property within the chamber, rather than a single property typical of the UK.

“Energy House 2.0 will provide an international focus for improving the performance of domestic and small commercial buildings. It will show the UK taking leadership in not only driving down CO2 emissions, but also supporting rapid innovation in the sector.

“The project will explore new materials; new ways of building; new types of heating systems and controls; and the integration of smart technology, all within a controlled environment. This approach will allow the University of Salford and innovative businesses to understand how these products and systems come together to create our homes of the future and understand their real-world performance.”

Read more at www.greenergreatermanchester.com



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