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Are Zero-Carbon Homes Within Reach?

4 min


The Z House Project, an eco house at Salford University by Barratt Homes. Pictured: Eion Reynolds, Site Manager
Barratt Developments have unveiled a concept for zero carbon homes that will be occupied and monitored to assess its performance. Quadrant Smart looks at how this changes the game for the future of Smart Homes.

The Z House, located at the University of Salford’s Main Campus, is Barratt Developments response to a net-zero home.

The Z House Project, an eco-house at Salford University by Barratt Homes.

It will be the first new home in the country built by a major housebuilder to go beyond the new Future Homes Standard, by delivering a carbon reduction of 125%.

Built as an industry showcase home, the building will demonstrate what is achievable, particularly from a mainstream, volume housebuilder.

Last year Barratt announced that all of its new homes will be zero carbon by 2030 and this flagship concept house is the first step in achieving that.

Over 40 top industry associates are involved in the build

The new home is being built with over 40 leading industry partners from across the housebuilding, sustainability, and technology sectors. They will all help to broaden knowledge in zero-carbon living with the lessons learnt from the construction being shared across the industry.

Partners include the University of Salford, GTC, British Gypsum, Octopus, Nissan and Mitsubishi, plus a host of other important suppliers

David Thomas, Chief Executive of Barratt Developments, told Quadrant Smart: “We want to showcase what can be done to deliver zero-carbon living using the latest technologies and working with the best industry partners.”

The aim is to find solutions to enable the industry to build high quality, zero-carbon homes that customers love, at scale. We can then share this knowledge to help the industry deliver the future of sustainable housing.

The new house will feature cutting edge technology such as overhead infrared panels that provide instant zero-carbon heat and new air-powered showers that will save families hundreds of pounds per year in water and heating bills.

It will also include plaster that eliminates pollutants giving cleaner, healthier air, a fridge that keeps the right humidity resulting in 60% less food wastage, and innovative heated skirting boards delivering 10% more heat than traditional radiators whilst also saving space.

The house will include an air source heat pump, EV charging points, PV solar panels and battery storage

Barratt challenged its supply chain partners to bring in the most cutting-edge products into the house to reduce its embodied carbon.

Michelle Heath, Technology Analyst from Barratt

These include electronic taps that can reduce water usage by 80%, kitchen cabinets made using 100% recycled chipboard plus reused coconut husk material for the handles, and a smart electricity tariff that automatically shifts energy usage to access the cheapest rates.

Professor William Swan, Director of Energy House Laboratories at The University of Salford told Quadrant Smart: “We are pleased to be working with Barratt Developments and their partners on the Z House and continue to expand the University’s ground-breaking research and innovation into low carbon technologies within the built environment sector.”

Our leading Energy House Laboratories are in close proximity to the house and will play a pivotal role in exploring the energy performance of this industry-first home making a vital contribution to the future of housebuilding in the UK.

There will also be a dedicated knowledge and energy hub built into the garage space to display and showcase products and technologies used within the Z House.

Visitors to the house will be able to monitor digital displays showing visuals of live energy use via a monitoring network that is built into the fabric of the home.

The house will be occupied by an academic from the University of Salford, meaning its energy consumption can be measured and displayed in the Knowledge Hub, to ensure the house can operate in the ‘real-world’.

Want to know more about the future of Smart Housing? Quadrant Smart will be hosting a Smart Housing Event in Birmingham to further discuss innovations in the housing sector.

To register your interest in our Smart Housing 2022 Physical Event, click here.