A £16 million home energy research centre in Salford has been given the go-ahead by funders.
The unique facility, based at the University of Salford will offer state-of the-art testing for hundreds of UK companies innovating in the construction, energy, smart homes and digital sectors.
Business leaders and politicians have welcomed the investment which will give Greater Manchester the world’s first all-weather research centre for whole building performance, capable of cutting test times for new products “from years to a matter of weeks.”
GM Mayor, Andy Burnham said Energy House 2.0 would “pave the way for net zero carbon homes and workplaces.”
The new facility – Energy House 2.0 – is timely given the UK’s Industrial Strategy on ‘clean growth’ and also supports Greater Manchester’s plans to position itself as a world-leading green business and clean tech hub.
Mike Ormesher, R&D Director at the standards agency the British Board of Agrément, said, “It is fantastic news for industry. This is a much needed support mechanism for the UK’s new and existing building stock and will provide the research quality we need in the industry.”
Energy House 2.0 is a successor to the University’s Energy House, which opened in 2011 and has provided the science behind technological change and a raft of initiatives to save on energy bills, particularly for Britain’s 5 million ‘fuel-poor’ households.
The existing facility – a Victorian terraced house inside an environmental chamber – is one of the most famous laboratories in the UK, and has regularly featured on TV and in the media.
The new blueprint is a much a larger, more flexible facility, where all sorts of buildings can be constructed, tested and demolished. The laboratory will create wind, snow, rain, and solar simulation, and temperatures between -20C and +40C. It houses sensor, thermal, data and visualisation laboratories and a new product development unit under a single roof with viewing galleries and a board room.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Salford, Professor Helen Marshall said: “Energy House 2.0 is an excellent example of a university, industry and government working together to tackle some of the major environmental and social issues of our times while supporting innovation and business growth.”
Energy House 2.0 is forecast to be completed in 2020.