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Salford University unveils energy house for retrofit research

Salford University has unveiled its unique energy house on which research will be carried out to help improve energy efficiency on older homes.

Minister for climate change Greg Barker officially unveiled the three-storey house which has been built inside a test chamber by construction firm ISG.

Speaking to CN at the Salford Retrofit 2011 conference, energy hub project manager Stephen Waterworth said construction firms had an important role to play in terms of future research at the university.

“The university has a strong track record in construction through its centre for construction innovation and we have a lot of contractors coming to us and asking us questions about our work.

“We want contractors to approach us and tell us the types of questions they want answered. A lot of the solutions we are looking at can be applied to offices, schools and all brick buildings so we want to work in partnership with the industry.”

The test chamber incorporates a climate system which will generate a range of snow, rain, wind and humidity conditions and a team of researchers and experts will aim to provide information on how best to use technology to retrofit old homes and reduce carbon emissions.

Research has shown that almost three-quarters of current residential properties will still be inhabited in 2050 and 91 per cent of UK homes would benefit substantially from improvements in energy efficiency.

The country’s least efficient properties were predominantly constructed prior to 1920. These currently make up 15 per cent of UK homes but actually account for 23 per cent of total carbon emissions.

The energy house has been constructed to ensure it has faults with insulation and energy efficiency so researchers can test how best to combat these problems.

Meanwhile Mr Barker also visited Salford-based eco-company ENER-G, who provide low carbon and renewable technology, to open their new £2million extension and announce 100 new jobs at the company.

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