The project aims to drive innovation in energy retrofit of homes that achieve 100% carbon emissions reduction, drawing upon academic, technology start-up and private sector expertise. It comprises a holistic package of approaches designed to increase trust, quality and performance, and reduce the price of retrofit. The approaches include:
- Off-site manufacture of insulation panels will minimise on-site time, reducing inter-skill barriers, and disruption to householders. A 3D laser scanning method will be used to generate accurate CAD drawings of building facades for building envelope manufacturing. The thickness and the specification of the insulation material will be determined by an expert system described below. The building envelope will be designed as an off-site TCosy system, suitable for rapid installation, as well as for ease of modification and disassembly in order to facilitate adaptation to climate change and for ultimate recycling.
- An expert system for zero carbon solution design will empower energy assessors on the ground to use high-resolution dynamic simulation methods and optimisation tools. Energy assessments will be initiated from handheld devices on site, and sent to a dedicated University server for simulation and optimisation.
The assessor on site will then receive a specification for retrofit, as a list of design options, including costs of trade-offs arising from conflicting design constraints.
- All buildings will be controlled predictively rather than reactively, typically saving 20% or energy. All retrofitted buildings (10 in this project) will be monitored remotely from the University, providing information for after-care and for pre-emptive and rapid response to performance problems.
- The control systems in individual buildings will be accessible from smart phone interfaces for real time user feedback, including game technology that encourages competition in energy savings between individuals and households.
The project facilitates experimental investigation of different solutions for 100% carbon emissions reduction and end user engagement and change of behaviour. Combined under a new business model, the project is designed to unlock the market potential and deliver substantial scaling up of retrofit at a cost efficient price.
Retrofit Plus is targeted at the over 6 million homes with solid walls and opens up innovation into a multi-billion pound market.