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Energy efficient solutions for ageing properties

24 Jun 2011

The Energy House at the University of Salford is a pre-1920s terraced property that has been re constructed inside a fully climatic controllable lab to research energy-saving technologies for older housing. Last week we visited this fantastic new research facility to learn how academics are using the house to raise awareness of, and find solutions for, the causes of fuel poverty in the UK.

The Energy House

Fuel poverty is caused by a combination of poor energy efficiency in the home, high fuel prices and low household income. Measures can be taken to tackle this increasing problem, and as many people experiencing this problem live in rented accommodation or social housing, it is paramount that landlords and social housing agencies begin to improve the energy efficiency of the properties they lease. The research carried out at the energy house also provides tenants with an overview of the energy efficiency measures that their landlord can take to reduce fuel bills.

Energy-efficient glazing is something that can help improve the energy rating of a property and here at Pilkington we have been running a campaign called MOT Your Home that highlights some of the key energy saving tips that are similar to those being highlighted by the Energy House.

Alongside the need to introduce energy-efficient glazing our, MOT Your Home campaign also advises that improved loft insulation an energy-efficient boiler, the introduction of cavity wall insulation and energy-efficient heating can really improve the energy efficiency of a home. By taking these measures homeowners and landlords can really make a difference to the energy consumption of a property and reduce the size of the associated fuel bills.

A recent social housing refurbishment involving one of our products, Pilkington Spacia™, highlights how energy-efficient glazing can reduce heating bills. Tenants living on Bertram Street, a social housing project in Camden, London, have saved an estimated £300 a year on heating bills since Pilkington Spacia™ glass was installed in their homes.



Bertram Street

The houses on Bertram Street are over 100 years old and provided similar energy inefficiency challenges to those posed by the Energy House at Salford University. Pilkington Spacia™ was specified because the houses have traditional window frames that can only be glazed with glass that has a thin profile. Pilkington Spacia™ uses advanced technology which consists of an outer pane of low-emissivity glass and an inner pane of clear float, with a vacuum rather than air or another gas in between.

The nature of this product lends itself well to retrofitting projects, like those on Bertram Street, because it provides a similar energy efficiency performance to standard replacement double glazing, but only has half of the profile. Its overall thickness of 6mm is enough to provide an aesthetically pleasing glazing solution where a slim profile is needed within a thermally-efficient window. Moving to glazing with a low centre pane U-value whilst maintaining the high light and solar transmission associated with single glazing can save over £300 per year on heating costs, and around 32 tonnes of CO2 over the lifetime of the window, in a typical 3 bed semi-detached property.

For more information on Pilkington energiKare™ energy efficient glass visit the Pilkington website here.