Salford to Evaluate Technologies on DECC Core Cities programme

29th May, 2013

The University of Salford is to study households in Greater Manchester which are part of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) core cities programme. The study will provide scientific data on the effectiveness of measures such as insulation, new boilers and glazing, providing information in support of the Green Deal policy initiative.

Working with DECC, researchers from the University’s Applied Buildings and Energy Research Group will gather a wide range of data, from the use of sensors to understand living conditions and energy use, to soft issues of how people use and understand their homes. The homes, which are currently being selected, will be both private and social housing, covering property types from 1750 to modern builds.

The team from the University will also be providing guidance, with representatives sitting on the Project Programme Board and GM Buildings Group, as part of Salford University’s commitment to addressing sustainable buildings in Greater Manchester.

Over the next few months, the researchers will gather the data to accurately assess the effectiveness of measures, informing the current theoretical models with detailed information gathered in the field.

The Salford study will look at the effectiveness of improvements in real life using sensors, which will measure heat loss using infrared thermography, and monitors, which take electricity and gas meter readings every few minutes to help understand people’s patterns of energy use throughout the day. The team will also use instruments to find how insulation affects humidity and carbon dioxide levels within the home and will conduct surveys with householders to gain qualitative data about living comfort and behaviour change.

At the end of the research there will be a standardised method and set of data which can be used by DECC to evaluate the effectiveness of measures which might be available under the Green Deal.

The Government is inviting households across the country to take part in the Green Deal in order to reduce fuel poverty and carbon emissions. The Green Deal enables householders to fund some of the costs of energy efficiency measures which are then repaid through the resulting savings on the energy bill.

Dr Will Swan from the University of Salford’s Energy Hub is leading the project. He said: “If we are to effectively understand what difference sustainable retrofit is going to make to people’s bills and their quality of life, we need to establish the evidence base that will help inform those decisions. The team is committed to making sure we can not only do that, but work with our partners to ensure that real learning takes place.”

The Evaluation Study has been funded with a grant of £237,000 from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and will last for 21 months.  Interim results will be available in March 2014 with a final report published in September 2014.

Dr Will Swann be presenting at the North West Retrofit Roadshow on 4th July 2013 in Liverpool – visit www.retrofit-roadshow.co.uk for further details.  A 10% early bird discount applies to up to 10th June for Retrozine readers using the following promotional code:  EBDRFR10

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