Alistair Darling MP heard about the latest research on energy-efficient housing and low-carbon living when he visited The University of Nottingham.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer toured the Creative Energy Homes project, a pioneering research initiative helping to make the houses we build – and the way we live in them – more environmentally-friendly.
Creative Energy Homes, led by academics in the Department of the Built Environment, is a showcase of six energy-efficient houses built on campus that serve as ‘living laboratories’, helping researchers develop and test zero-carbon technologies.
The homes are designed to various degrees of innovation and flexibility to allow the testing of different aspects of modern methods of construction including layout and form, cladding materials, roof structures, foundations, glazing materials, thermal performance, building services systems, sustainable/ renewable energy technologies, lighting systems, acoustics and water supply.
The project aims to stimulate sustainable design ideas and promote new ways of providing affordable, environmentally sustainable housing that are innovative in their design.
The Chancellor said: “This research is very, very important and it’s impressive to see how much work is going on here. The ambition must be to produce houses that are zero carbon on a commercial basis – credit to the University because these first steps must be taken if we are to do that.
“It’s good that we have a British university doing this – especially one that has a long-standing relationship with China, where the commercial possibilities are virtually endless.”
He was given a guided tour of the houses by Professor Saffa Riffat and Dr Mark Gillott, and was met by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor David Greenaway, during the November 20th visit.
Later in his tour, Mr Darling visited the University’s Jubilee Campus, to see the latest award-winning buildings that are part of the £30m extension to the site.
Professor Greenaway said: “We were able to show the Chancellor houses that can be built which are affordable, attractive, and pay for themselves through savings on electricity and gas. It was also an opportunity to show the Chancellor not just the research that’s taking place here, but the way in which we are using those sustainable technologies, at scale, on the Jubilee Campus.”
The striking new buildings at the Jubilee Campus are a further redevelopment of a brownfield site formerly occupied by Raleigh, and incorporate many new features of sustainable design and construction in areas such as heating, cooling, light and ventilation.
Professor Alan Dodson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Infrastructure, said: “It was particularly pleasing that the Chancellor showed interest not only in the technology but also in the economics of using sustainable design. People are realising that these technologies are actually not that expensive, and in the long term they will be very beneficial both economically and in terms of the climate change agenda.”
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Notes to editors:
The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.
The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation – School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.