Minister to speak at Retrofit Salford 2011

The keynote address at Salford University's retrofit conference next week is due to be made by climate change minister Greg Barker.

Retrofit Salford 2011 has already reached its capacity of 200 delegates for the two-day event. In addition to the minister, there will be presentations from leading retrofit and sustainability experts including:

Prof Michael Kelly, Prince Philip Professor of Technology at University of Cambridge and chief scientific advisor to the Department for Communities and Local Government

Dr Peter Bonfield, chief executive of BRE and a visiting professor at Bath University

Mat Colmer, head of technology, Energy Saving Trust

Emma Kirkpatrick, head of the European Regional Development Ffund programme at the North West Development Agency

Nick Storer, chief executive, Envirolink North West

Mike Reardon, strategic director, Greater Manchester Environment Commission

Tom Traynor, construction manager, ISG

Academics from the University of Salford will also be participating. These include Prof Sue Kilcoyne, energy theme leader; Dr Will Swan, Centre for the Urban Built Environment, Dr Nigel Mellors, associate dean for enterprise; Prof Ghassan Aouad, pro vice-chancellor for research and innovation.

The conference will also see the unveiling of a full-size and fully functioning terraced house that has been built in a laboratory to study domestic energy consumption. Delegates will be able to tour the house, which is the centrepiece of Salford's new cross-disciplinary Energy Hub facility, before both are officially opened by the minister.

Steve Waterworth, of Salford University's Energy Hub, said: "The response we've had to the conference even before announcing the speaker programme has been staggering, and I'm delighted that Greg Barker has agreed to address the conference and officially open the University's new Energy House and Hub.

"The calibre of the experts we've secured, and the influential delegates set to attend, demonstrate that retrofit is right at the top of the sustainability and housing agendas and that it is highly relevant to both the commercial and public sector.

"This, combined with the fact we are heavily oversubscribed for this inaugural conference, means we are planning to run a second retrofit event later this year."

The 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 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%.

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