Nestled amongst the trees in the north of University Park is a row of seven unique houses. The Creative Energy Homes form the basis of a research project run by the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, and formed the focus of SRN’s latest event. The first house on the street is an ultra-modern glass and glistening stainless steel mansion. However, the Mark Group house is completely carbon neutral and has the highest energy efficiency rating possible. This is due to clever engineering and design which incorporates specialist building materials and high-tech energy systems.
Next door, the BASF house uses an earth-air heat exchanger, which draws air from outside and through a series of underground pipes, to heat or cool the house depending on season. In the summer the ground under the house is cooler than the outside temperature and in the winter it is hotter, helping to provide an ideal living environment with no carbon footprint. The clever engineering incorporated into the development even extends to the roads and driveways, which is porous and so collects rainwater in an underground tank for use in the houses.
Further down the street there is a typical 1930s suburban house like you might see in any residential area through Britain. That is until you look a bit closer. The walls of the E.On House are much thicker to accommodate an insulation rendering and there is an electric-car charging station in the drive. The research team have been trying to make this standard house as energy and carbon efficient as possible, the hope being that if these measures can be adopted widely it will help homeowners significantly reduce their energy bills and also reduce the UK’s carbon footprint.
The SRN tour provided a fascinating insight into what may potentially be the future of housing design. The host, Jenny White, enjoyed taking the group around – it is always great to have an opportunity to share research ideas and outcomes with others, and to view your own work from different sustainability perspectives.
On January 22nd SRN hosted a tour of The University of Nottingham’s Creative Energy Homes. The development consists of seven houses which showcase different energy efficiency and carbon saving measures in order to reduce energy demand and carbon emissions levels. The tour was led by Jenny White. This blog post was written by Wil Knight and Jenny White, SRN Committee Members.