A major problem facing the UK’s retrofit agenda has been highlighted by the Government:
“There are 26 million homes in the UK, and only 21 million minutes from now to 2050. So if we are going to make all our homes energy efficient by 2050, we need to fix up one house every 50 seconds, for the next 40 years”.
This is the challenge facing the UK in its ambitious attempts to reduce carbon emissions by 80% of the levels of 1990, one that the University of Salford is tackling head on.
Salford Energy House, Europe’s first and only research facility of its kind, provides a unique facility where interdisciplinary teams of leading academics from across the University can work collaboratively with business and the community in addressing these challenges.
The house – a pre 1910, Victorian-style terrace – has been reconstructed in an environmentally controllable chamber, in which levels of heat, light humidity and rain can be simulated and recreated time and time again.
Research in the Energy House is trans-disciplinary and multi-dimensional, exploring the technical, social and financial aspects of the carbon reduction agenda.
We are also investigating ways to support carbon reduction by encouraging the public to change the way they use energy.
What technology and solutions should people adopt and install? How do you convince them to change behaviour? These are just two of the questions that the cross disciplinary teams from the University of Salford are working on.
Through the Green Deal, the government is establishing a framework to enable private firms to offer consumers energy efficiency improvements to their homes, community spaces and businesses at no upfront cost; payments will be recouped through a charge in instalments on the energy bill. Individual households could be entitled up to £10k to spend on improving the energy efficiency of their homes.
University researchers are currently active in several projects – including EPSRC-funded ventures and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships – in this field:
We are also developing a bid in partnership with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in this area and we are designing some experiments to be deployed in the Energy House to look at how changes in the house environment can influence energy use.
Since its official launch in January 2010, the Energy House team has secured over £3m in grant funding to enable a range of research and enterprise projects to be undertaken; this includes several industry-funded PhD studentships.
Professor Nigel Mellors, Director of the Energy House, commented: “Since the launch of the Energy House…we have been overwhelmed by interest, not just from local business, but from leading international companies wanting to work collaboratively with us. The House has placed the University at the forefront of collaborative research and innovation within the low carbon agenda”.
To find out more, or to get involved, please contact Richard Fitton, Energy House Research Lead at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Energy House development is representative of the work being done under the ‘Energy’ theme, one of four cross-cutting interdisciplinary themes.