It has become all too apparent in the past few days that UK homes are not built to cope with extreme heat.
Insulation, lack of air conditioning and high-rise flats with big windows, are just some elements which contribute to blistering temperatures both inside and out.
In a bid to tackle this issue, British housebuilder Bellway has begun constructing an experimental eco house – The Future Home – which will monitor how homes can be built and kept more comfortable in extreme climates.
It is part of a research project on carbon-zero technologies which could influence how homes are built, used and sold in the future.
Construction of the eco home started last month at The University of Salford’s leading net-zero research facility Energy House 2.0. It is funded in part by the European Regional Development Fund.
Due to be completed in October, the house will test building materials, the effects of double and triple glazing, storing solar energy, recovering heat from wastewater and how to make most efficient use of air source heat pumps.
Mechanical ventilation will be trialled to control airflow and regulate temperatures. Each element will be monitored with varying weather conditions simulated inside a specially built chamber.
The Future Home will be tested in temperatures as high as 40 degrees and as low as -20 degrees. Weather conditions including wind, snow and solar radiation will be created in the chamber.
Bellway believes the project could have the potential to change how we build homes in the future and how we live in them.
Sheldon Bosley Knight’s head of residential sales and marketing, James Morton said: “This is really exciting, and we will be watching with interest as the project develops.
“Climate change is exposing how many of our homes are simply not built for extreme temperatures – whether hot or cold.
“It will also be interesting to see how expensive one of these eco homes will be and how much they could cost to run, but potentially they have the possibility of radically changing how homes are built in this country.
“It’s also a fabulous example of British engineering and design at its best, leading the way in what is going to become an even more important sector of the industry.”
Once the house is built, data on energy efficiency will be collected and analysed by university experts. The team said the project will provide them with the opportunity to test the effectiveness of the technology and create solutions to any challenges they come across.
It is hoped the results will help Bellway, and the industry more widely, to deliver more energy-efficient homes.
Photo: Energy House 2.0 at The University of Salford [Photo credit: Bellway]