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University of Salford recognised in UK’s Best Breakthroughs List

Thursday 6 December 2018

THE ENERGY House at the University of Salford has today been named as one of the UK’s 100 best breakthroughs for its significant impact on people’s everyday lives.

Energy researchers in the University’s School of Built Environment are honoured in the UK’s Best Breakthroughs list for their pioneering work in energy measurement, innovation and lowering household utility bills.  

Their idea to open the world’s first real home inside a controlled environment not only created one of the world’s most unique laboratories – but has provided a world-class stream of evidence to support technological change in domestic energy use, which accounts for 30% of the UK’s    greenhouse gas emissions.  

Salford Energy House - a two-up, two-down Victorian brick house similar to four million real UK homes is equipped with sensors on every window, door, wall and appliance, it can be subjected to simulated climates    – sun, wind, snow and rain.  

3,000 homes retrofitted

Research has underpinned the retrofitting of 3,000 homes, proved methods to slash utility bills by 15% and enabled 500 companies to test and improve insulation, boilers, thermostats, building materials and smart meters and controls.

The Energy House – featured on a recent BBC Breakfast programme – also provides home energy saving tips to organisations like Citizens’ Advice.  

The list of breakthroughs demonstrates how UK universities are at the forefront of some of the world’s most important discoveries, innovations and social initiatives, including the creation of the internet, work tackling plastic pollution and ultrasound scans to check the health of unborn babies.

The list also highlights the less celebrated breakthroughs that transform lives, including a specially-designed bra to help women undergoing radiotherapy; a toilet that flushes human waste without the need for water; the development of a new scrum technique to make rugby safer; a sports initiative that  aims to use football to resolve conflict in divided communities; - and even work to protect the quality of the chocolate we eat.


The list was compiled by Universities UK, the umbrella group for UK universities, as part of the MadeAtUni campaign to change public perceptions of universities and bring to life the difference they make to people, lives and communities across the UK.

It follows independent research undertaken by Britain Thinks which found that the public has little understanding of the benefits of universities beyond undergraduate teaching. The findings show that research is one of the key triggers to change opinion about universities but for many people, it is  an abstract concept.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Salford Professor Helen Marshall said: “It is a fantastic achievement to be featured in the UK’s Best Breakthrough list. We’re extremely proud of the work of our academics and difference they are making to people, lives and communities.  

“The MadeAtUni campaign is an incredibly important initiative for the university of Salford as it allows students, alumni, the local community and the wider population to understand the work that we do and the impact it has.”  


Professor Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, said: “Universities really do transform lives. The technology we use every day, the medicines that save lives, the teachers who inspire – all come from UK universities and the important work being done by academics.  

“The UK’s Best Breakthroughs list is a testament to the difference that universities make to people’s lives and we want everyone to join us in celebrating the work they do.”  

The UK’s Best Breakthroughs list: 100+ Ways Universities Have Improved Everyday Life was put together in partnership with universities across the UK. As part of the MadeAtUni campaign, every university in the country was invited to nominate the one thing from their institution which they believe    has had the biggest impact on people, lives or communities. Over 100 universities submitted a nomination.  

You can find out more about the UK’s Best Breakthroughs and the MadeAtUni campaign here