Contractor Bowmer + Kirkland has started building the University of Salford’s Energy House 2.0, a research facility designed to test the energy efficiency of homes in different weather conditions.
The 11,300 sq ft facility was designed by Bond Bryan Architects and will be built at the University’s Frederick Road campus.
The university claims it will be able to create snow, rain, wind or solar exposure in two giant chambers and record the impact that different weather conditions have on the four furnished test homes contained within the chambers.
Temperatures can be plunged to -20°C and raised to 40°C, meaning environmental conditions experienced by 95% of the world’s population can be replicated, the university added.
Professor William Swan, director of Energy House Laboratories at the University of Salford, said the facility allows the university to “support low carbon innovation in a way that is not possible elsewhere”.
Energy House 2.0 also aims to “shape the homes of the future, bring the UK to net carbon zero quicker, and help alleviate fuel poverty”.
The project was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the University of Salford is working in partnership with utilities provider Octopus Energy, which is to provide green electricity to the test houses.
The university has expertise in buildings and energy efficiency and, over the last decade, has undertaken research in the original Salford Energy House, built in 2011.
The original Energy House contains a single two-bedroom house, whereas the latest project will contain four.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said Energy House 2.0 would play a role in the city region’s target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2038.
Burnham said: “A key part of delivering Greater Manchester’s target is to reduce emissions from our homes. We need our buildings to become more energy efficient and use renewable energy more effectively, and Energy House 2.0 will help us define how to achieve this.”
Aecom is providing project management, cost management, architecture and multidisciplinary engineering services for the project.