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UK's first conference on Retrofit sees unveiling of University of Salford's Energy House

* Retrofit-Salford-House-sml.jpgOn 26th and 27th January 2011, the University of Salford will be holding the UK's first conference on the challenge of how to sustainably retrofit existing housing stock. The event will also feature the unveiling of the world's first Energy House.

The conference, which is being sponsored by construction and fit-out specialists ISG, will see delegates drawn from across industry, the public sector and academia. They will be sharing insights on sustainability challenges and the government's policies to meet them.  

Its timeliness is highlighted by the government's announcement of legislation to be put before Parliament in December to help bring private rented housing up to energy-efficiency levels of the owner-occupier sector.  Under its 'green deal', the Government wants to enable homeowners to make their houses or flats energy-efficient, by installing insulation and draught-proof doors and windows with no immediate payments. 

The world's first Energy House was announced earlier this to year to great industry and media interest and it will be unveiled at the conference. It is a full-size traditional Coronation Street-style terraced house built in a laboratory, so that domestic energy consumption can be studied.

To cost-effectively retrofit old properties and make them as carbon-efficient as possible requires detailed and robust research.  

The house is fitted as a typical working home, built in the same style as 4.5m pre-1920 UK homes, with fully functioning water, gas and electricity supplies. The university's academics are conducting tests inside the house to gauge how its energy consumption varies depending on variable factors and conditions.  

The conference itself will be a business-focused event discussing issues with and associated with Retrofit, and what can be done to improve products and the take-up of new technologies. Delegates will include technology providers, construction companies, installation companies, housing organisations and social landlords, local councils and local government and policy makers.

The Energy House and conference is a response to the sustainability challenge presented by the UK's ageing housing stock. Statistics from the Communities and Local Government English House Condition Survey 2007 Annual Report show that 70% of the country's present residential property will still be inhabited in 2050 and 91% of all UK homes would benefit substantially from improvements in energy efficiency. Improved insulation and boiler upgrades alone could see heating emissions reduced by 22%.    

The country's least efficient properties were predominantly constructed prior to 1920. These currently make up 15% of UK homes but actually account for 23% of total notional C02 emissions. Of these dwellings, more than 2m are the two-up, two-down terraced-style that the University has replicated.

Recent research commissioned by Salford has also revealed that 50% of Registered Housing Providers do not yet have a retrofit plan. This is in spite of the Government's continuing commitment to the 'Warm Homes, Greener Homes' strategy that has set a carbon emissions target of virtually zero from nearly all housing stock by 2050.     

"This project is exciting because retro-fitting old properties to make them as carbon-efficient as possible will require detailed and robust research," says University of Salford Vice-Chancellor Martin Hall. 

"If there is to be a step change in the UK to achieve our carbon emission reduction targets, it is essential that decision-makers have sound evidence to ensure products are tested before being tried out in real homes. 

"The data produced at the University of Salford will support the refurbishment sector and homeowners in making correct decisions when improving the energy performance of existing homes. 

"The unique cross-discipline nature of The Energy Hub also means that our academics, experts and specialists from a range of fields can access and interpret the data and work together to find innovative solutions." 

Places at the conference are free but delegate numbers are limited. 

For more details of the conference or to register your interest contact Steve Waterworth, Energy Hub Manager, at:

E: s.d.waterworth@salford.ac.uk  

W: www.energy.salford.ac.uk

26th November 2010

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