LJMU launches 'eco houses' to help reduce carbon emissions from UK housing stock

It looks like any small street of homes, or the set of a new TV soap opera but three innocuous looking houses which have sprung up behind the Peter Jost Building on LJMU’s Byrom Street Campus have a more practical purpose.

They are part of a project that could help tackle the sustainability challenges of the country’s housing stock and reduce carbon emissions in line with government targets.

LJMU has built three full-scale ‘eco’ houses on campus designed to standards from the 1920s, 1970s and present day to test and develop new green technologies and building methods, which will help make the country's housing stock more energy efficient. Research carried out on the site will inform the construction and energy sector and government on options for tackling the UK’s refurbishment challenge on existing dwellings, 90% of which will still be here by 2050.

In partnership with BRE (a world-leading building science centre), LJMU construction and technology experts will test a variety of new and emerging green technologies to provide solutions to the challenge of reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Launched today by Steve Rotheram MP, special guests were able to get the first look around the properties and see some demonstrations of the work that will be happening on site.

Professor Ahmed Al-Shamma’a, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology said:

“The vast majority of existing housing stock in the UK needs modernising to help make homes more sustainable, reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.

“With LJMU’s expertise in the built environment, these life-like houses will enable us to collaborate with construction and energy industries, to bring about new construction methods and innovations that will have real impact on the sustainability of the homes of the future.”

Tests for new energy saving and environmental innovations include:

  • adaptations to building fabric and services to reduce energy consumption and thus reduce carbon emissions from homes
  • energy saving products, appliances and equipment within real world domestic environments
  • carbon monoxide levels and migration within domestic buildings in a real-life setting

In addition, the houses will provide a dynamic, site-based learning facility for students of construction, property, surveying, police studies and forensic sciences, enhancing the curriculum and visibly incorporating research into the teaching environment.

The facility will also have research applications in other sectors including sensors and health care. Specifically, the houses will act as a test bed to trial and identify home adaptations to support those living with dementia. This could include prevention and mitigation of slips, trips and falls, monitoring and automation systems to support occupant wellbeing and environmental enhancements to allow individuals to live well.

Located at LJMU’s Byrom Street Campus, the ‘mini street’ of houses will be part of BRE’s Innovation Park Network, with BRE choosing to establish a permanent presence on site to inform sustainable development at a global level and stimulate innovation within the built environment.

Dr David Kelly, Group Director of BRE Innovation Park Networks said:

“We are delighted to be working with Liverpool John Moores University as part of the BRE Innovation Park Network. The research findings should provide us with refurbishment options for typical UK dwellings and help shape future policy to be used by Government and Housing Associations. By us working together with LJMU, we can tackle the refurbishment challenge.”

Professor Mike Riley, Head of LJMU’s Department for Built Environment said:

"This facility represents our true industry-led approach to research and teaching. It will enable students and academics to collaborate with SMEs, green tech businesses such as insulation manufacturers, control system designers and environmental improvement companies in the Liverpool region to test and assess various technological innovations.”

Find out more about LJMU’s world-leading research from the Department of the Built Environment.


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