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Green housing project involving NTU to be showcased at COP26

A project to transform some of Nottingham’s hardest-to-heat council homes into energy efficient houses – involving Nottingham Trent University – will be showcased at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Part of the Remourban project
Properties were retrofitted in Nottingham

The Energiesprong NCH2050 Homes project is one of 17 worldwide that will be on show at the conference, which takes place in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November 2021. Nottingham will be displayed alongside projects from Norway, Africa, Sweden, Australia, Brazil and New Zealand.

One of only five from the UK, it will be part of the UK Built Environment Virtual Pavilion, organised by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).

The NCH2050 project is focused on retrofitting homes to ensure they are low carbon or new net-zero carbon, bringing down residents’ energy bills, reducing fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency.

A study led by Nottingham Trent University (NTU) - which involved modifying more than 450 UK homes – informed the work and showed that a national programme of retrofitting housing stock with solid wall insulation, ground-source heat pumps and solar panels is urgently needed.

The study – in partnership with Nottingham City Council and Nottingham City Homes – involved retrofitting 463 homes in the Sneinton area of Nottingham with a variety of measures including external solid wall insulation, photovoltaic solar panels, ground-source heat pumps and LEDs.

The five retrofit options were trialled across eight different building types to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs. It took place over five years and was funded by a £5 million grant from the EU Horizon 2020 scheme.

The research showed that energy savings of up to 45 per cent were achieved by improving the building fabric of properties, which included wrap-around solid wall insulation on older Victorian properties and other houses where appropriate.

In the deep retrofitting NCH2050 Homes intervention, all gas boilers are replaced by a centralized, scalable energy system.

This comprises a photovoltaic (PV) plant, ground sourced heat pumps (GSHP), thermal energy storage (TES) and electric energy storage (EES). The heating in the properties is now supplied by a micro-energy grid operating at low temperature with up to 72% energy savings.

The upgrades combined saved about 3 GWh/year in energy and over 550 tons per year in CO2 emissions across the 463 properties.

The initiative is a partnership between Nottingham City Homes, Nottingham City Council, Melius Homes, Energiesprong UK, Focus Consultants, Studio Partington, Nottingham Trent University and the University of Lincoln.

Professor Anton Ianakiev, of the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, who led the study, said: “Along with our project partners, it is a great honour for our work to be highlighted at such a prestigious conference as COP26.

“World leaders will be able to learn about the important work we have done to improve the way that existing UK homes can be retrofitted to make them sustainable for a greener future.”

Find out more about the REMOURBAN project.

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