Willmott Dixon is teaming up with South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC), PRP Architects, ACCE Solutions and Cambridge University to retrofit 13 homes at Rampton Drift, Longstanton, to assess how they perform over two years.
Under the research project, energy-saving measures including better insulation, solar panels and super-efficient boilers worth a total of £320,000 will be installed in the houses, which were built between 1956 and 1970.
When complete later this year, ACCE Solutions will use monitoring devices to see what difference have actually been made in saving fuel costs. The learning that is generated will inform a new generation of retrofit programmes that are set to take off under the government’s Green Deal initiative.
Mick Williamson, managing director at Willmott Dixon Partnerships which is carrying out the installation work, said: “This project will give us important data in what measures have a real impact on energy use. With fuel costs set to rise even further this year, it could not have been carried out at a more important time.
“The government, local authorities, RSLs, landlords and private residents will want to use what we learn here, especially as many of their homes that need retrofitting were built during the same period, or are older. The twin imperative of cutting fuel costs and reducing carbon emissions means that energy retrofit work will soon enter the mainstream of home improvements.”
Residents in the homes involved are volunteers on the programme and will submit details of current energy usage before having the monitors installed to record future power consumption. All participants on Rampton Drift are owner-occupiers, a crucial target market for the Green Deal.