School of Science, Engineering & Environment 12.07.24

Salford net zero test facility test new pods for the homeless

Homelessness charity Emmaus Salford has teamed up with the University of Salford and construction firm Casey to develop new energy-efficient sleeping pods for people who are street homeless.

The University of Salford’s Energy House 2.0 research facility has a leading reputation in developing low carbon technologies in the built environment sector and have been evaluating a pod working in partnership with Emmaus Salford.

A prototype pod has gone through a series of tests to measure energy efficiency and will be refurbished to the highest thermal standards. Casey has been working in collaboration Emmaus Salford to develop the prototype pod with support from Protectal Ltd.

Joe Flanagan, Project Manager of Energy House 2.0 at the University of Salford, said: “As a University, we ensure that all our research meets our social responsibility agenda and that innovation developed has a positive impact on the community.  We have been proud to work with Emmaus Salford on this project that will make a real difference to the lives of people who are homeless.  

“The University of Salford’s Energy House 2.0 has two large environmental chambers that can replicate over 95% of the world’s climate and has allowed us to test the pod by simulating different weather conditions. Our aim is to ensure that not only are the pods energy efficient but also offer a safe and comfortable environment for the occupants."

The Emmaus Salford pod is the first research project to be carried out in Energy House 2.0. The facility opened in February 2022 at a cost of £16m and is the largest test and research facility of its type. The construction of Energy House 2.0 is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and follows on from the success of its Energy House facility which has been open for more than a decade and has built a renowned reputation for the University being known as the home for net-zero research. 

Emmaus Salford supports formerly homeless people by providing them with a stable home, meaningful work and support for as long as they need it. As well as a residential community, Emmaus Salford also has on-site pods to provide a safe and comfortable night’s sleep for people who are street homeless.

Jackie Smith, Business Development Manager at Emmaus Salford, said: “Our first four pods opened in May 2020 and have helped many people off the streets, access support and into more permanent housing. Casey has kindly donated eight more sleeping pods which we plan to refurbish to a high standard, both for the people who will be using them and for the planet.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with the University of Salford and their Energy House 2.0 team to help us develop the specification for a prototype pod. These insights will provide Casey and Protectal Ltd with a strong foundation to develop our new prototype pod.”

The Casey Group is a Rochdale-based construction company that has provided support to Emmaus Salford over a number of years. The company has provided work experience and apprenticeship opportunities to people supported by Emmaus Salford. Casey has also offered in-kind building expertise to improve the charity’s residential community and install the first four pods.

John Walmsley, Direct Services Manager at The Casey Group Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this initiative, the whole essence of which fits our company purpose of Improving lives. Homelessness is a major issue in Greater Manchester and helping those people affected is something we feel passionately about. Following the partnership’s work, the pods will provide a decent level of comfort for those using them. This is great news and something we are proud to be a part of”.

Find out more about Emmaus Salford.