Z House Cut
More than 40 industry partners have contributed to the Z House. Credit: via Sugden

Barratt’s zero-carbon house ready for University of Salford test

Neil Tague

The housebuilder has completed construction on a flagship sustainable home concept called the Z House that will be occupied and monitored to assess its performance.

Barratt Developments said this will be the first new home in the country built by a major housebuilder to go beyond the new Future Homes Standard by delivering a carbon reduction of 125%.

Building and fity out is now complete, and Salford students will soon move into the house so its performance can start to be monitored.

Last year Barratt announced that all of its new homes will be zero carbon by 2030.

Z House is being developed as an industry showcase home to demonstrate what is achievable, particularly from a mainstream, volume housebuilder. The new home is being built with the input of more than 40 industry partners from across the building, sustainability and tech sectors.

Partners include the University of Salford, GTC, British Gypsum, Octopus, Nissan and Mitsubishi.

Technologies that will feature include overhead infrared panels that provide instant zero carbon heat, new air-powered showers intended to save families hundreds of pounds per year in water and heating bills, pollutant-eliminating plaster, “smart” fridges, and heated skirting boards delivering more heat than radiators.

Modern Methods of Construction techniques are to be deployed, such as closed panel timber frames with highly insulated cladding, factory fitted windows and offsite panelised masonry ground floor wall panels. An air source heat pump, EV charging points, PV solar panels and battery storage will also be included.

Technlogis offered by partners include electronic taps that can reduce water usage by 80%, kitchen cabinets made using 100% recycled chipboard plus reused coconut husk material for the handles, and a smart electricity tariff which automatically shifts energy usage to access the cheapest rates.

The project is to be hosted at the main campus at the University of Salford – a site with some history of testing innovative housing test systems.

David Thomas, chief executive of Barratt Developments, said: “We want to showcase what can be done to deliver zero carbon living using the latest technologies and working with the best industry partners.

“Ultimately, the aim is to find solutions to enable the industry to build high quality, zero carbon homes that customers love, at scale. We can then share this knowledge to help the industry deliver the future of sustainable housing.”

Professor William Swan, director of Energy House Laboratories at the University of Salford said: “Our Energy House Laboratories are in close proximity to the house and will play a pivotal role in exploring the energy performance of this industry-first home making a vital contribution to the future of housebuilding in the UK.”

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Pleased that a major housebuilder is finally coming to the party on this. Shame it’s taken so long and that earlier government attempts to bring it about were shelved essentially on grounds of cost. The houses Barratts and others are building today will need to be retrofitted, along with the millions of other existing homes in the country, at greatly more considerable cost than building them to the sorts of standards they’re now testing – this delay will cost £billions, considerable additional CO2 emissions and could’ve been easily avoided.

By Gethin

Great news for the city of Salford.

By Born Bred Darren