Developing Sustainable Low-Energy Homes from Existing Buildings
Unit(s) of assessment: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
Research theme: Sustainable Futures
School: School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment
Inefficient housing leads to fuel poverty and environmental damage
Creating sustainable low-energy houses from existing premises is a self-sufficient approach to liberating buildings from external non-renewable resources. Nottingham City Council is currently part of a five-year European funded project; REMOURBAN, involving collaboration with partners across Europe working together to achieve a sustainable urban regeneration model. An economically sustainable, financial model can be developed to repay the costs of the intervention.
The project leverages the blend of energy, mobility and ICT to transform European cities into Smart Cities. The technical solutions and knowledge can be rolled out over a broad number of homes, achieving cost reductions through economies of scale.
Addressing the Challenge
Retrofitting, data collection and energy mapping
The development of the nine dwellings on West Walk in Sneinton, Nottingham, is a part of the project. Nottingham City Council will be using over £3m of EU Smart City funding to help citizens of Sneinton to be warmer and healthier, to reduce their energy bills, and to reduce the carbon emissions of the city.
The dwellings will be more comfortable, with limited draughts or overheating, and this will have a positive impact on reducing fuel poverty. The cost to tenants will be more manageable and consistent, leaving them less vulnerable to energy bills increasing due to rising fuel prices.
The Nottingham Trent University (NTU) team will conduct a preliminary simulation to optimise the design of the interventions. They will also install data hubs in some of the West Walk properties to handle data collection relating to temperature, moisture, CO2 and energy consumption.
The hubs will act as the interface between the component parts of the system, and will be fitted with Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections, allowing it to communicate with the NTU monitoring server. The data collected will be used in a novel energy-mapping scheme, a third-party mobile app, and in gaming development to enable further energy savings and citizen engagement.
Leveraging European Expertise
The NTU team is led by Dr Anton Ianakiev, who has expertise in the numerical modelling of heat and fluid flow. The research involves collaboration from Nottingham City Homes, Nottingham Energy Partnership, and Solar and Sustainable Installation Engineers (SASIE). It is supported by the EU-funded Smart Cities research project (REMOURBAN), a partnership between the municipalities of Nottingham (UK), Valladolid (Spain) and Tepebaşı (Turkey).
Making a Difference
Protecting both tenants and the environment
This development will result in interesting research and innovative technical solutions. This novel and economically sustainable business model will deliver properties that produce less greenhouse gas, and which could be independent from the network energy grid.
The Integrated Infrastructure City Model will deploy citywide scalable, innovative replicable and integrated ICT solutions. It will increase the energy efficiency of districts and of cities and foster the use of renewables. The intelligent control system will enable citizens' engagement and empowerment through provision of open, consistent data and performance measurements in real time.
The dwellings will be more comfortable, with limited draughts or overheating, and there will be a positive impact in terms of reducing fuel property. The cost to tenants will be more manageable and consistent, leaving them less vulnerable to energy bills increasing due to rising fuel prices.