Energy House 2.0 wins unlock net zero award

Categories: School of Science, Engineering and Environment

A world-first research project designed to help create the energy-efficient homes of the future has won a prestigious national award.

Energy House 2.0 is led by The University of Salford in partnership with Bellway, Saint-Gobain and Barratt Developments.

The unique facility won the Building or Development of the Year (Private Sector) Award in the inaugural Unlock Net Zero Awards at Housing 2023, held recently at the Manchester Central convention complex.

Energy House 2.0 is researching and testing, in tightly controlled conditions, new ways of powering, heating and insulating homes, making them more energy efficient and helping to meet new standards which require a significant reduction in carbon emissions for new-build homes from 2025.

As part of the pioneering project, housebuilder Bellway built a three-bedroom detached house, named The Future Home, inside a climate-controlled chamber within the university’s Energy House 2.0 facility.

The UK’s largest housebuilder, Barratt Developments, also built a three-bedroom low carbon home, known as eHome2, in the same chamber, in partnership with Saint-Gobain, the worldwide leader in light and sustainable construction.

The chamber allows researchers at Energy House 2.0 to test the energy performances of buildings in temperatures ranging from -20C to +40C, as well as gale force winds, rain, snow, ice and solar radiation.

Professor Will Swan, Director of Energy House Laboratories at The University of Salford, said: “Energy House 2.0 is part of the UK’s net zero research and innovation infrastructure. It is great for the whole team to be recognised and we agreed with the judges’ comments that we are just getting started in making a significant contribution to understanding how we are going to get to net zero in our homes.”

Jamie Bursnell, Group Technical and Innovation Manager at Bellway, said: “We are incredibly proud to be involved in this truly pioneering research which could forever change the way that homes are built, not only in this country but all over the world. For the project to be recognised in this manner at the inaugural Unlock Net Zero Awards is high praise indeed.

“Carbon reduction is one of the three key priorities of our Better with Bellway strategy – the company’s long-term commitment to responsible and sustainable practices. The performance of the new building technologies in The Future Home will be tested and closely monitored to give the team valuable information. This will enable us to build homes which will be more energy efficient with minimal carbon emissions.”

Oliver Novakovic, Technical & Innovation Director, at Barratt Developments, said: “Building eHome2 within the Energy House is one of the most significant projects that Barratt has ever undertaken. Along with Saint-Gobain and the University of Salford, we’re leading the way to test the impact that extreme temperatures caused by climate change could have. 

“The research will inform us to build net zero housing at scale, using off-site methods of construction and lower carbon products that reduce the impact on the planet. It’s good that the importance of this R&D project has been recognised by the industry.”

Tom Cox, Technical and Development Director at Saint-Gobain Off-Site Solutions, said: “We were thrilled that the Energy House 2.0 project, a one of a kind research project, received this recognition in the inaugural Unlock Net Zero Awards. We are hugely proud to be part of this pioneering project, and utilise the learnings from the research to inform our own solutions. As part of our commitment to being net zero by 2050 we are continually working on sustainable solutions that help decarbonise buildings, reduce our own carbon impact and the carbon from across our value chain. eHome2, which was built using sustainable solutions from our brands and partners, will undergo a rigorous testing programme looking at energy efficiency, thermal performance to understand how to deliver zero carbon homes at scale.”

The Unlock Net Zero Building or Development of the Year (Private Sector) Award featured seven finalists and related to projects and developments completed between January 2021 and March 2023.

The judging criteria included net zero/environmental strategy, supply chain decarbonisation, Modern Methods of Construction, waste and resource efficiency.

Energy House 2.0 is a £16 million project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The research is designed to try to uncover the most effective ways to reduce carbon and to control running costs in future homes.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.