The ground breaking project overall is worth £6.4m, of which £3.2m has been invested by the Technology Strategy Board with the other £3.2m coming from the members.
The overall project objectives will be to:
- Develop a better understanding of consumers, their needs and aspirations relating to low energy/carbon homes and their response to a range of possible technology solutions
- Research and develop new design and build processes that will drive innovation in the existing supply chain and the emergence of new suppliers. In parallel this will accelerate the development of new materials, components and systems, creating a supply chain capable of delivering a range of innovative products to support a ‘fabric first’ approach from within the UK to drive cost efficiencies.
- Design and develop a minimum of 12 homes that meet consumer needs and deliver to Code Level 4 energy standards, with a fabric first solution. These will be built in various locations across the UK and sold on the open market.
- Use project outcomes at all stages to broaden the wider industry’s knowledge and capability to develop sustainable homes in a more affordable, consumer friendly and efficient manner on a mass scale, to meet Government timescales. The work will also focus on skills requirements, market response and global excellence benchmarks.
The key to the success of the project will be to engage with both known and new suppliers at all levels to develop a successful formula for building homes, through an energy efficient fabric and building services solution, without the use of micro renewable technologies.
Achieving this goal will not only assist in meeting the Government target of zero carbon homes by 2016, but will reduce costs, create a new UK supply chain, generate new build systems and processes and ensure homes are designed that meet consumer needs without confusing or costly technologies.
The three and a half year project will see a range of build systems being researched, – timber frame, masonry and a hybrid, each being evaluated for capability to meet the overall objectives, as will be the use of offsite manufacture and new onsite assembly processes.
Several innovative methodologies will be used to achieve the supply chain objectives including the development of supplier sandpits to find and engage with the most appropriate and innovative suppliers and dramatically improve the supply chain network, including cross sector input from other industries. 3D Intelligent BIM design systems will be used to simplify the design process and apply intelligent design parameters, thus streamlining the whole production process, from beginning to end.
The project will provide valuable insights into the design, construction and performance of the buildings that will be needed to meet the 2016 target for zero carbon homes through optimising the fabric of the building, delivering homes that are low energy, affordable and low maintenance.
The outcomes are eagerly awaited not just in the UK but globally, ensuring a step change to underpin the delivery of desirable, sustainable communities and customer friendly homes that run themselves.