An innovative building project by Leicestershire house builder Caplin Homes has taken the first step towards becoming the UK’s first fully-solar powered home, achieving the top rating in an official energy efficiency survey.
The Solar House in Great Glen has been awarded A ratings for both running costs and environmental impact in its Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP). The impressive score has been achieved in spite of the test only measuring the impact of known technologies, meaning that the effect of two key components in the construction have not been included.
In addition to a heat pump, solar panels and the insulating construction of the house that are all included in the assessment, the energy system will also benefit from solar walls and an Earth Energy Bank (EEB). The EEB will store heat collected by the solar panels during the summer and store it underneath the house for use during the winter months, while the solar walls will pre-heat incoming ventilation air.
Based on the specification analysed in the “as designed” SAP review, the Solar House currently achieves a 98.8 per cent reduction in carbon, making it just 1.2 per cent away from its zero carbon target.
The house’s final energy efficiency score is expected to be significantly improved, resulting in a carbon negative construction.
Michael Goddard, director of Caplin Homes, commented: “We’re extremely pleased with the results from this first assessment. We knew that the results would be positive but they’re actually even better than expected. We’re certainly on track to achieve our aim of a totally zero-carbon property.”
The Solar House is due to be completed in September, when it will hopefully become the UK’s first fully self-sufficient solar-powered home. In addition to solar technologies, the timber-framed house will also gather heat through a large area of south facing triple glazed windows.
With an objective of demonstrating to the building industry that zero carbon construction is commercially viable, Caplin Homes is aiming for the technologies used in the project to be taken up by developers to help meet the UK’s 2020 carbon reduction targets.
“This kind of construction could not only help us achieve our carbon reduction commitment,” added Michael, “but could also set householders free from energy bills. With fuel prices continually rising, that’s an inviting prospect to any homeowner.”
The SAP rating is used by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to assess and compare the performance of residential properties. Once completed, the house’s energy flows will be carefully monitored by De Montfort University’s Institute of Sustainable Energy and Development to ensure that the anticipated results are achieved.