Ecosmart new homes
30 November 2007
Barratt Developments today publishes preliminary findings from its pioneering ‘eco village’ project in Chorley, Lancashire – a 15 month experiment into how effectively ‘green’ technologies can be incorporated into new homes.
Academics from The University of Manchester have been monitoring the renewable technologies which Barratt installed in the seven-unit development and are now compiling the report on their performance.
Key preliminary findings include:
The Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) – ‘worked very well’.
On average a GSHP could generate 2.6 times the amount of energy it consumed. At these performance levels, an £7,800 GSHP would reduce CO2 emissions by 62 per cent and would take around 15 years or less to pay for itself at today’s electricity prices using a simple payback method of analysis.
Photovoltaic (PV) roof panels – ‘worked very well’.
On average, an unobstructed PV system generated 850kWh of electricity a year. At these performance levels, with a net-metering arrangement and a Renewable Obligation Certificates income, a £4,500 PV system would take around 37.5 years or more to pay for itself at today’s electricity prices.
Solar Hot Water Thermal Collectors (SHW) - ‘reasonably satisfactory’.
On average, a 2.5 sq m or higher SHW unit could heat a 180 litres tank of hot water on a cloudless day. The simple payback period will depend on the hot water demand of the household and this work is still progressing.
Micro-Wind Turbines (mWT) – ‘disappointing’.
Both the 1.7m and 1m mWT performed below the theoretical available output based on the recorded wind speed throughout the trial period. Simple payback period analysis has not been carried out.
Micro-combined Heat & Power (CHP) units – ‘trouble free’.
On average, the electricity to heat generation ratio of the mCHP units was around five per cent. It is still under trial and further results will be published at a later date.
The eco village project is the first of its kind by a major UK housebuilder. Barratt has used it to test-run the ‘green’ technologies at the forefront of the Government’s drive to make all new homes in Britain zero carbon by 2016.
Monitoring of the Barratt EcoSmart Show Village is being led by Dr Tony Sung, Chairman of CIBSE Electrical Services Group and Lecturer at the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at The University of Manchester.
Dr Sung is examining how much each ‘low carbon’ technology costs to install, what exactly it can and cannot do, what combinations work best, what they will save in terms of carbon emissions and whether householders could expect to make any cost savings as a result of living with them.
Dr Tony Sung said: "The Barratt EcoSmart Show Village has been invaluable to provide us with a wealth of performance data on various low carbon technologies installed in the seven test houses. It has shown that there are low carbon technologies for us to use for reducing or offsetting carbon emissions from our homes.”
“There is no shortage of renewable energy. Although they are intermittent in nature and often generated at a time that is out-of-step with the bulk demand, it has a vast and useable quantity. As long as we develop good ways of capturing, storing and retrieving it, e.g., outside the box of houses, we can greatly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and help to meet the Government’s 2020 renewables target. This will allow us to retain significant reserves of hydrocarbons and coal for our future generations. Thus, the energy future is all about choice, not fate.”
Mark Clare, CEO of Barratt Developments, said: “The eco village has been an invaluable test bed which has helped separate renewable myth from renewable reality. The challenge now is to drive down costs to ensure that they have the widest possible take-up.”
“Barratt is now using renewable technologies at 40 of our developments. The Photovoltaic roof panels and Solar Hot Water Thermal Collectors are key features which we will use going forward. So too is the Air Source Heat Pump, which operates on similar principles to other Heat Pumps.”
The experimental prototype technologies have now been removed from the Chorley showhouses, which will be sold to members of the general public. More research on the low carbon technologies used at the eco village will continue at The University of Manchester by the Built Environment Research Group for a further two years.
The findings will then be published for the benefit of homebuyers and the rest of the housebuilding industry.