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15 December 2010 | PR 10/189

University’s sustainable housing project shines at new housing development

A pioneering sustainable social housing project in Leicestershire is currently being rolled out by a team of experts from Loughborough University.

The project is designed to support Charnwood Borough Council in attaining forthcoming ultra-energy efficient standards for new homes, making them compliant with Code 4 of the Government’s ‘Code for Sustainable Homes’ standard. 

Altogether nine sustainable homes are being built and staff and students at Loughborough University’s Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST) are working closely with the Council, Mabers architects and the main contractor, Morgan Sindall, to ensure that the new homes deliver real low carbon performance in practice.

The cooperation is part of an EMDA-funded project, SHINE (Sustainable Homes Innovation Network of Excellence). The University has led the project since 2008 in conjunction with partners in the construction industry, local government and academia aiming to deliver high quality, sustainable homes across the East Midlands. Charnwood Borough Council has utilised the University’s expertise in this area and applied SHINE to its new development.

“What we are aiming to achieve is real-life low carbon dwellings that meet the comfort needs of occupants in practice, not simply by design”, explains project leader Dr Paul Rowley of CREST at Loughborough University. “We are keen to support sustainability initiatives in our own community wherever we can and this is the first fully evaluated and monitored social housing project of its kind in Leicestershire. 

“We are working with the Council and industry partners to integrate analysis of the building fabric performance, renewable energy equipment and occupancy data. This will improve our understanding of what works in real situations.

“While sustainable housing is thankfully becoming more mainstream, what we are exploring is how occupiers’ interaction with the building and its services impact upon the sustainable performance of the system as a whole. For example, at what temperature do occupants set their heating and hot water, or do they open windows regularly to counteract overheating in winter? And we also need to understand how effective renewable energy technologies are in contributing to energy needs and carbon reductions.”

The team are applying the approach to a number of new affordable homes across Charnwood in which CO2 levels, humidity, temperature and energy equipment performance will be measured to give a more holistic picture of how these sustainable properties actually perform in everyday life.

PhD student Adam Thirkill adds: “We will use the data to work towards improving the next generation of properties as well as to improve their control systems. Our research will mean we can assess whether or not our thinking on low carbon design is actually working.”

Councillor John Bush, Charnwood Borough Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the University on a project that contributes to current research on low carbon housing. It adds value to the construction process to the benefit of the Council, our tenants and future housing developments.”

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Debbie Hughes
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: D.L.Hughes@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

1.  About SHINE: SHINE involves close cooperation between leading industry partners, the renewable and sustainable energy supply chain, housing associations and higher education and research organisations. The academic partners include Loughborough, Nottingham and Northampton Universities.

SHINE also undertakes research in upgrading the energy performance and sustainability of existing homes and is a showcase for exemplar refurbished dwellings.

2. About Morgan Sindall: Morgan Sindall is a UK construction, infrastructure and design business with a national network of local offices. It employs over 4,800 people who work for private and public sector customers on projects from £50,000 to over £500 million. Activities range from small works and repair and maintenance, to the design and delivery of complex construction and engineering projects where it is able to provide specialist tunnelling, utilities, building, civil engineering and mechanical and electrical services. Morgan Sindall operates across the commercial, defence, education, energy, healthcare, industrial, leisure, retail, waste, water and transport sectors.  With revenues in excess of £1.5 billion, Morgan Sindall is part of Morgan Sindall Group plc, a leading UK construction and regeneration group operating through four divisions of fit out, construction and infrastructure, affordable housing and urban regeneration, and an investment unit. For more information visit www.morgansindall.com

3.  About Loughborough University: Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2010 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

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.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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