Terraced house built inside a lab

Sensemaking / Terraced house built inside a lab

Scientists put the trad British home through its paces in Salford University's Energy Hub.

31 Jan 2012

Scientists put the trad British home through its paces in Salford University's Energy Hub.

In Manchester, architects have built a house in a lab to give researchers a unique testing centre for energy-saving technologies.

The replica of a traditional two-up, two-down pre-1920s terrace, dubbed the Energy House, has been constructed in a three-storey sealed testing chamber at Salford University. It was completed earlier this year, as part of the University’s Energy Hub research centre. It features original brickwork and tiles, and is fully furnished and functioning, with water, gas and electricity supplies. Moreover, the testing chamber reproduces weather conditions, such as rain, wind and sunshine. It gives researchers a unique way to assess out how energy consumption varies depending on a wide range of conditions.

The Energy House, which cost £1 million to implement (of which £100,000 was in construction costs), has already attracted more than £3.5 million in sponsorship, and was named the top research and development initiative at the 2011 Green Gown Awards for environmental activity in UK universities.

The UK has more than two million terraced homes in the style of this replica. Oliver Novakovic, Director of BRE Housing Futures, hopes that the project will generate “hard data to help deliver the step change needed if the UK is to achieve its carbon emission reduction targets”. The India Green Building Council is also sending a delegation to study the site. - Anna Simpson

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