Minister opens university’s energy facility

Climate change minister Greg Barker officially opened Salford University's energy hub facility at its retrofit conference on Thursday.

The new multi-disciplinary research centre draws on the expertise of over 25 academics from 13 departments and a centre of excellence for energy research in the UK.

The two-day conference, titled Retrofit Salford 2011, was dedicated to the challenge of how to sustainably retrofit existing housing stock.

Barker was also given a tour of Salford University's Energy House project, a replica pre-1920s house within a laboratory to study domestic energy consumption known as Number One Joule Terrace.

Barker described the project as "a house from the past, working for the future".

He told delegates, drawn from technology, construction, retail, housing, governmental and academic sectors, about how he had cut his political teeth in Salford and had first stood, somewhat unsuccessfully, as prospective Conservative candidate for Eccles in 1997.

He also highlighted his and the coalition government's aspiration and commitment to be "the greenest government ever".

Prof Martin Hall, vice chancellor of Salford University, said: "We really appreciated that Greg agreed to participate in our ground-breaking retrofit conference and that he was able to take a tour of our new Energy Hub and the Energy House.

"His presence at Retrofit 2011, and his enthusiasm for our work at the university, clearly demonstrates that our innovative, cross-disciplined and partnership approach to the issue of energy is in tune with the government's ambition to make the UK one of world's lowest carbon economies by 2020."

In addition, delegates at Retrofit 2011 heard speeches from a range of organisations and companies including BRE, the Energy Saving Trust, ISG, Envirolink Northwest, the NWDA and the Greater Manchester Environment Commission.

Academics from the Salford University also presented a variety of research and papers to the conference, as did Prof Michael Kelly, Prince Philip Prof of technology at Cambridge University.

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