Innovation cash for Net Zero project

Categories: School of Science, Engineering and Environment

An ambitious project to develop Net Zero technologies for the home has been given a share of a £100m funding pot to become part of the city-region’s Innovation Accelerator programme.

Led by the University of Salford, the Future Homes Project is a partnership between academia and industry which will use the unique Energy House 2.0 facility at Salford to develop new technologies to reduce carbon emissions from the home and cut energy bills at the same time.

Working with various partners, the project will develop net zero solutions for the housing sector, conducting research under controlled conditions using real homes built within Energy House 2.0.

Energy House 2.0 allows new technology for energy efficiency to be tested under controlled repeatable conditions, an approach not possible anywhere else globally. The grant will allow this work to be extended by developing digital tools and process improvements that

allow these solutions to be scaled up, meaning they can be more rapidly deployed, with more confidence of their actual performance in use and ensuring technical barriers to adoption are removed.

Professor Will Swan, Director of Energy House Labs, said: “The Innovation Accelerator is an exciting opportunity for the partners, who bring additional high-quality research and innovation expertise to help industry address net zero and energy efficiency in homes.

“Regulatory change is driving developers to seek new solutions to ensure homes meet the needs of net zero performance, as well as future climate and occupant satisfaction.

“This grant allows us to build on the work of Energy House 2.0 with our industry partners, as well as creating opportunities for SME innovators to link up with our research and industry networks to get successful innovation to market. In the face of the cost of living crisis and climate change, this project has the opportunity to impact people’s lives.”

By bringing together leading industry partners, the Future Homes Project will have a far-reaching impact on the delivery of new and retrofit homes, as well as supporting the wide range of companies (heating, cooling, ventilation, controls, digital, materials, delivery) within the housing supply chain. This will not only deliver net zero homes but create the opportunities for clean growth that will come from the innovative work, creating policy, economic and social benefits for Greater Manchester and the UK.

Professor Karl Dayson, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise at the University of Salford, added: “I’m proud of our work at the University of Salford on sustainability and helping society achieve net-zero carbon usage and I’m delighted that our pioneering research at Salford will be a catalyst for the Future Homes Project. As an anchor institution within the region, we are committed to supporting local and regional growth in Salford and Greater Manchester. The funding announcement lays the foundations for a vibrant and innovation led economy in the area. We can now begin to deliver the vision of Innovation Greater Manchester and bring greater prosperity to our pioneering city-region.”

The funding, awarded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), has been allocated to innovative projects in sectors where Greater Manchester has existing research strengths, including advanced materials, artificial intelligence (AI), diagnostics, and net zero. Projects will support businesses with adopting new technologies and people developing new skills, while attracting private R&D investment, creating jobs and stimulating economic growth.

Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor, said: “We are really pleased that the University has been awarded funding to develop new technologies through Energy House 2.0 as part of Greater Manchester’s bid through the Innovation Accelerator pilot programme.

“This project further demonstrates the importance of innovation and R&D to Salford, complementing our innovation ecosystem in the city, whilst also leveraging the benefits of innovation to deliver local economic growth, jobs, opportunities and importantly warmer and more cost effective homes as we continue to grapple with the impacts of the energy crisis.

“Innovation is important to Salford and Greater Manchester, increasingly becoming an essential and critical driver in the growth of our city, supporting our vision for a fairer, greener, healthier city with practical and person-centric applications. The university’s role within the city’s innovation and R&D ecosystem is absolutely essential to our vision.”

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