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4 August 2008 PR 08/119

Loughborough University to lead £4 million project on cutting household carbon

Loughborough University and the University of Reading are leading two separate groups, which will share £4.2 million for work focusing on reducing the substantial proportion of CO2 emissions that result from homes.

The research is being funded by energy company E.ON and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It will look at ways British homes can use energy more efficiently and how technology can help cut domestic carbon emissions.

The grants are part of a five-year, £10 million joint programme being run by E.ON and the EPSRC which is open to all UK universities seeking to bring forward new low carbon energy solutions.

Houses account for almost a third of the carbon dioxide emitted in the UK – 60% of energy used in UK homes is for space heating, 23% for hot water.

Dave Clarke, E.ON’s Head of Research and Development, said: “These are two more important projects in our collaborative programme with universities that will help change the way we use energy in our day-to-day lives and help combat climate change.

“It further demonstrates E.ON’s commitment to leading in low carbon energy technologies, which we are also pursuing through our own £12 million research programme involving more than 200 ongoing projects.”

Loughborough University is heading five universities in a project which will examine how energy-efficient and low-carbon technologies – such as advanced heat pumps, vacuum glazing and solid wall insulation – can better provide the heating and hot water needs of current housing styles.

Professor Dennis Loveday of Loughborough University said: “Householder appeal and interaction will play an important role in reducing emissions. This places the emphasis on retrofit solutions that are aligned with our modern lifestyles and meet practical and economic needs.”

The technologies will be tested in both laboratories and by volunteers in their own homes. New computer software will be created to design and select measures for each home.

The University of Reading project, involving six other universities, is taking an innovative approach to demonstrating how changing the way people act at home can save energy, without affecting their quality of life.

It says that, for the first time, consumers in their own homes will be asked to help identify changes to the way they currently use energy as well as providing options for lowering their needs.

Dr David Shipworth from the University of Reading said: “This project aims to give people something they can see, with forms of feedback on the energy costs of their actions which are immediate and in a form they themselves want. An approach targeting these issues could reasonably be expected to show energy savings of 20%.”

Four partner universities with low carbon expertise – Loughborough University, University of Nottingham, University of Birmingham and Imperial College, London – developed the programme. Its first £2.1 million award was made last year to another consortium of eight universities for a project looking at how the UK is to achieve its aim of a low carbon society.


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Notes for editors:

  1. E.ON (http://www.eon-uk.com) is one of the UK’s leading power and gas companies – generating and distributing electricity, and retailing power and gas – and is part of the E.ON group, the world’s largest investor-owned power and gas company. It employs around 17,000 people in the UK; E.ON is the new name for Powergen. Its retail business is a leading energy supplier in the UK, with around 8 million electricity and gas customer accounts, covering domestic, SME and industrial. E.ON offers central heating and boiler care through its Home Energy Services business.
  2. Professor Dennis Loveday holds the E.ON UK and Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in Low Carbon Energy Technologies at Loughborough University. The appointment is part of a separate long- term programme researching the built environment and how energy can be used more efficiently.
  3. The Loughborough University-led consortium comprises University of Oxford, University of Warwick, Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh, University of Nottingham and University of Ulster.
  4. The University of Reading consortium is made up of Durham University, University of Greenwich, De Montfort University, Leeds Metropolitan University and Cardiff University.
  5. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. The EPSRC invests around £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC also actively promotes public awareness of science and engineering. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. Website address for more information on EPSRC: http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/
  6. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

ersity has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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