University looks to 2022 launch of Energy House 2.0

The University of Salford is developing the Energy House 2.0, a £16million test laboratory that will allow scientists to change the weather conditions surrounding four furnished houses located in two chambers.

Set to launch in 2022, Energy House 2.0 is a successor to the Salford Energy House, a two-bedroom terraced house constructed inside an environmentally controllable chamber. Energy House 2.0 will have the capacity to replicate a total of four fully furnished houses across two environmental chambers which can replicate climatic conditions and environments experienced by 95% of the global population.

The £16 million research facility, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), aims to work with businesses and manufacturers in the built environment to support global ambitions to reach carbon reduction targets by 2050 and deliver net zero future housing.

The university is collaborating with a range of organisations on the project. Among the partners are residential housebuilder Bellway Homes, the Development Partnership, The English Cities Fund, and a joint venture between construction materials and solutions firm Saint-Gobain and Barratt Developments.

Across the studies, the organisations will be supported by leading academics from the University of Salford in a bid to tackle some of the built environment’s biggest challenges when the research and testing facility opens next year.

Professor William Swan, director of Energy House Laboratories, said: “Domestic energy and heating is a major source of carbon emissions and this was a hot topic at the recent COP26 Climate Change conference in Glasgow this month. It has clearly been acknowledged by world leaders that we need to act now to protect our planet.

“Homes and the built environment contribute around 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint, and the global picture is similar. That’s why we’re so excited to announce new partnerships, which will help our work with key players in the private sector to drive innovation and solutions that that address global, domestic energy efficiency challenges – making a world of difference to our future and our planet.”

Research objectives

The research facility will allow partners to innovate, test and validate housing design, home heating and approaches to using a variety of energy technologies. Each of the research partners will be building a house in one of the environmental chambers within the facility and will investigate distinct challenges over an estimated nine months:

• Bellway: The Bellway Homes house at Energy House 2.0 will test how low carbon heating technologies will work in combination with building fabric, efficient services, and renewable energy generation in real world scenarios. As well as reducing a home’s carbon footprint, Bellway will also be looking at the most cost-efficient ways to help customers reduce their energy bills.

• The English Cities Fund: National development partnership, The English Cities Fund will build an apartment-style building at Energy House 2.0 to explore and investigate commercially viable net-zero innovation that can be adopted in their construction. The findings will be applied to influence the delivery of new homes within the £1bn, 50-acre Salford Central masterplan, and the £2.5bn, 240-acre Crescent masterplan.

• Saint-Gobain: Saint-Gobain will bring research on its modern, light, and sustainable construction solutions to the Energy House 2.0 facility helping demonstrate how its solutions can help meet and exceed the standards for homes in the future. It will use the facility for real-world testing of a building’s performance helping enable the rapid testing new solutions.

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