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Eco-Home Pilot in West Gorton

02 March 2020

Keepmoat Homes is working in partnership with Manchester City Council on a low carbon pilot project which involves 5 Keepmoat homes being constructed to an enhanced thermal performance and fitted with smart home energy system to support the City on its journey towards delivering its carbon neutral ambitions.

The Council are leading the way when it comes to addressing the climate crisis and the City aims to be zero-carbon by 2038, twelve years ahead of the Government’s 2050 target. Additionally, in October last year, the Government released its consultation paper for proposed building regulation changes, which sets out plans for newbuild homes to be gas-free by 2025.

“In support of Manchester’s Carbon Neutral commitments and in response to the Part L Building regulation consultation document, we have been looking at solutions which will help us achieve both the 2025 gas-free Future Home Standard and Zero Carbon Homes. The consultation documents under consideration currently suggest the new Future Homes Standard should achieve an 80% reduction in carbon from today standards, but we’ve got a lot of innovative partners who want us to look at full zero carbon solutions.” says Keepmoat’s Director of Product Development, Trudie McCormick.

Taking initiative from the pro-active and forward-thinking approach adopted by Manchester Keepmoat identified the Connell Gardens scheme in West Gorton as an opportunity to work with the Council to trial new and innovative low carbon technologies.

“From our initial discussions with the City Council, we had a clear understanding of their ambitions and developed a strategy around how we could work in partnership to address the three main drivers for the city – delivering affordable housing, zero carbon and addressing fuel poverty.” explains Helen ODoherty, Keepmoat’s Land and Partnerships Director, “We recognised that the sector needs to move forward, and we brought a proposal to Manchester which demonstrated our ambition to support them on the journey towards zero-carbon? Our proposal not only helps reduce energy consumption within the home, but will also significantly reduce the running costs for home-owners, providing a meaningful solution to tackling fuel poverty, helping families on low incomes.”

The five homes are all standard brick construction, but have all been built to an enhanced fabric performance using a rigid insulation solution to give them improved thermal performance. Each home has also been fitted with dual aspect solar PV panels, linked to battery storage, which enables the home to generate and store energy. Working with Manchester-based technology specialists, Wondrwall, Keepmoat have transformed how energy in the homes is managed through the installation of Wondrwall’s home automation technology.

Wondrwall uses pioneering technology to give a home a ‘brain’, with the primary intention of saving consumers money on their energy costs. It achieves this through its ‘smart’ light switches, which sense movement, humidity, temperature, light and sound, and then works out habitational patterns to manage energy consumption in the home. The system also enables the home to export surplus energy from the battery back to the grid, creating an income for the customer.

Wondrwall estimate that, coupled with their solar panels and battery storage, the system will reduce energy consumption by 20%, reducing electricity bills by up to 90% through maximising the use of renewable and off-peak energy.

During the year-long pilot, data from the homes will be collected and analysed by Salford University, to understand how the homes and technologies perform and the impact on home owners in terms of their energy costs.

Trudie McCormick, has worked with supply chain partners to develop low carbon solutions and has supported the delivery of the West Gorton Pilot, “Situations like this are fantastic; working with innovative partners and working with the best products that are out there, because we need to trial all these solutions. We’ve got a relatively small window of opportunity – within four years we need to have proven solutions that are scaleable, deliver what they say they’re going to do, and be ready to implement in 2025.”

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