Good fuel economy. Integrated sound and lighting system. Winter package heating system. Coated windows to limit summer overheating. You are all looking at the car aren’t you?
I’m not a car sales person (as you can tell from above!) but at a guess, for the majority of us, when we go and buy a car we want one that isn’t going to cost us a fortune to run, is safe, has a dab radio etc. Technology has had a big impact on our cars, so why not on our housing?
I went up to ‘Futurebuild 2020’ recently. Futurebuild is a rebranded Ecobuild – it’s a huge exhibition at the ExCel Centre in London where all things ‘eco’ in buildings are presented (there’s a lot of non-eco too, depending on your point of view on eco!) There was an initiative there presenting called Energiesprong. It’s a company who originated in the Netherlands who are transforming existing houses into NET zero houses (the total amount of energy used is the same as is renewably created). They’re using technology to get there – retrofitting houses in a week so the home owners / occupiers don’t need to move out. The reduced repair costs and savings on ‘normal’ energy costs cover the costs of the retrofitting – i.e. the occupants have the same monthly expenses. The retrofitting is all done off site – prefabricated, which drives performance standards up and costs down. It’s something the car market has been doing for years – can you imagine the cost of each car if every single was build separately rather than in a factory?
EnergiesprongUK have just started to work with social housing providers in the UK to create an initial volume of projects for solutions in the UK. There have been a few projects completed, such as those in Sneinton by Nottingham City Homes with Melius Homes.
I think it’s going to be interesting to see how this initiative spreads.