First 100% Solar-Powered House in the UK
The very first entirely solar-powered house project in the UK has been recently completed in Great Glen, Leicestershire. It is a 5-bedroom state of art building that is fitted with solar panels and other solar technology, and therefore runs completely on its own.
The house is set to exceed the government requirements for the 2016 zero-carbon target. The house is able to collect enough solar energy to provide heating, hot water and electricity throughout the whole year. The Solar House utilises an innovative combination of different sustainable technologies in order to collect and store solar energy ready for use at any time during the whole year.
The Solar House project has the purpose of demonstrating to members of the trade that zero-carbon house building is possible, affordable and economically feasible. The house is a 5-bedroom estate and has already been finished and actually sold. The builders -from Caplin Homes- are ready to offer scalable solutions for house builders as the current property is quite large.
The consortium behind the Solar House project wants to prove that government targets and zero-carbon homes are a possible and viable investment for home builders within the UK. The project is also designed with the purpose of showing that existing sustainable technologies can be used for building such houses in various sizes.
The main technologies utilised in the project include a solar panels array for electricity, a solar thermal system, solar walls designed to pre-heat incoming ventilation air and a heat pump that stores and retrieves heat that would be ready for use in the winter. All the excess energy generated will be collected and stored using solar batteries for use during the winter months. The energy is stored underneath the house and during the winter it will being pumped back into the house.
A significant amount of south facing triple glazed windows will also boost the Solar House’s performance during the winter months. The control system that manages all of the technologies in the building is a state of the art invention that takes into consideration the temperature inside and outside of the house, the energy flow from the solar panels and the heat levels in the heat pump underneath the house. The control system then analyses and optimises the overall performance.
Because of its low energy design, the house is likely to require heat from the heat pump for around just 10 weeks during the year. With energy bills constantly increasing, the zero-carbon home is becoming an even more attractive prospect for householders. The Solar House project aims to prove that this is also achievable for house builders.
The house’s performance will be constantly tracked by an MSc research student. The student will be responsible for analysing the data gathered by the performance levels of the combination of heat pumps and solar panels, and all the other sustainable technologies within the building. The results will then be analysed.
Scientists say that calculations show the house is expected to perform outstandingly well. The house building industry needs to find ways to build sustainable homes in sustainable carbon-free ways. The government targets look quite realistic and reachable with such projects.
The Solar House project is quite ambitious and interesting and it proves that sustainable house building and maintenance are possible. This opens entirely new horizons to the house building industry and can help the UK reach its enthusiastic zero-carbon targets.