The UK’s first “smart” carbon positive energy house, which can export more power to the grid than it uses, has been constructed, experts said.
The low-cost three-bedroom family home, designed by experts led by Cardiff University, integrates technology to reduce energy demand and generate and store renewable energy.
The property near Bridgend, Wales, has been built to be highly efficient, with high insulation to reduce air leakage, structural insulated panels, insulated render on the outside and air heating systems that rely on the sun.
It also has solar panels integrated into the south facing roof, designed to reduce the cost of bolting solar panels to a standard roof, which generate power for the property.
The team behind the house, which uses other green technology such as low-carbon cement, LED lighting and a heat pump and locally sourced material such as Welsh timber, said it was capable of exporting more energy to the electricity grid than it uses.
Battery storage has also been included in the design to allow people living in the house to use energy the property generates later on, for example using electricity generated by the solar panels in the evening after the sun has set.
The house, which took just 16 weeks to construct, was also low cost to build, coming in at £1,000 per square metre, compared to the target for social housing of £800 to £1,000 per square metre, the designers said.
Professor Phil Jones, head of the “Solcer” project, said the Welsh and UK Governments have set targets for ‘nearly zero’ energy buildings by 2020, and new carbon housing can deliver this and more.
“Through this project we have risen to this challenge and used the latest design and technology to build a smart energy positive house.
“This is the first house in the UK that has been purposely built, using a systems approach, to be carbon positive,” he said.
Kevin Bygate, chief executive of the Specific Innovation and Knowledge Centre, a consortium which aims to develop clean building technology, said: “Buildings that can generate, store and release their own renewable energy could be a game-changer.
“The Solcer house is intentionally built with the best off-the-shelf, affordable technologies, so it proves what’s possible even now – and there’s plenty more technology in the pipeline.”
The team will now ensure all that the measures put in place are monitored to ensure the most energy efficient use.