‘Coronation Street in a lab’ wins top environmental award

Energy House in the rain.

The Energy House

The University of Salford’s Energy House – a terraced house built inside an environmentally controlled chamber – has been named the top Research and Development initiative at the prestigious Green Gown Awards.

The University of Salford’s Energy House – a terraced house built inside an environmentally controlled chamber – has been named the top Research and Development initiative at the prestigious Green Gown Awards.

The Awards, which celebrate the best initiatives being taken by colleges and universities to become more sustainable, were held on 3 November in London – with the Energy House taking the Research and Development prize.

The Energy House is designed to be one of Europe’s most advanced test chambers for technology which increases energy efficiency in the UK’s housing stock. Due to it being built inside in a controlled environment, researchers can replicate identical weather conditions time after time, including temperature, humidity and even rain.

At present, 5.5 million households in the UK are classed as being in fuel poverty, but 91% of homes would benefit from some form of retrofitting to make them more efficient.

At the Energy House, a unique approach has been taken to resolving this issue with researchers from disciplines as diverse as materials and psychology working together to find effective solutions.

The work is also filtering through and supporting the work campus redevelopment and a carbon reduction programme, which has seen the University climb to 37th in the People & Planet Green League 2011.

Environmental and Sustainability Officer Rebecca Bennett said: “The Energy House project provides us with a fantastic scope to benefit from putting the research into practice on campus and therefore the opportunity to use our campus as an extension of the learning environment for our students.”

The work of the Energy House will gather significant momentum at a conference – Retrofit 2012 – to be held in January, when international academics, businesses and policy-makers in energy, construction and the environment will gather to hear the findings of vital research into energy use and reduction.

Judges commented: “The University of Salford’s project boasts an impressive level of collaboration across many sectors with a truly interdisciplinary approach. Real time data is produced and the university are keen to share the results in a much wider context. Work is with local schools but the project also has national scope and provides insight and practical solutions into fuel poverty – currently a hot topic on the national agenda.”

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