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Tue November 24 2020

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BRE opens 'home of the future' (video)

3 Oct 13 A house that demonstrates energy savings that can be made has been opened at the Building Research Establishment in Watford.

The Smart Home was launched by Watford mayor Dorothy Thornhill and former St Albans MP Kerry Pollard
The Smart Home was launched by Watford mayor Dorothy Thornhill and former St Albans MP Kerry Pollard

Called The Smart Home, it uses through smart technology alongside fabric improvements and occupant empowerment to minimise energy consumption, showcasing what is possible.

It has been developed from BRE's pioneering Integer House, built 15 years ago. This has now undergone an extensive retrofit and renamed The Smart Home. Through a joint BRE and British Gas project, it has been re-equipped with a host of features that make it 50% more energy efficient and have halved its carbon emissions, upgrading it from an E to an A/B EPC rating.

An intelligent, whole house living system with occupation sensors for a range of purposes controls the heating, lighting, ventilation, water and security. Air-source heat pump technology has been integrated to provide heating via app-enabled advanced controls, and improvements have been made to the solar thermal water heating and air tightness.

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The house has a solar thermal system, with an integrated PV array in the conservatory glazing to generate most of the home's energy requirements and shade clear glass against excess heat. Innovative 3mm-thick insulating plaster, finished in heat-reflective paint, improves thermal performance, while paint with light-reflective particles on the internal walls increases brightness and so reduces lighting needs.

BRE chief executive Peter Bonfield said: “The Smart Home will inspire and influence the industry in the same way as it did in its original guise as the Integer House. Thanks to our partners British Gas and the many others who been involved in delivering the project.”

To counteract upper floor overheating, Phase Change Material (PCM) has been incorporated into the upper floor walls. Ducted skirting, reclaimed timber floors and an FSC certified kitchen have been fitted, and doors and windows have been replaced with uPVC double glazing incorporating recycled uPVC. Velux windows have been installed, and the front door has electronic locking, using a car-key-style remote tab.

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