A Welsh university claims to have built the UK’s first low-cost, low-carbon, energy-positive house. The Solcer House was built by Cardiff University’s Solcer Project, part of the LCRI Program (Low Carbon Research Institute). It was designed as a prototype with off-the-shelf technologies to show how low-carbon targets could be met.
The house is located in Pyle near Bridgend and follows the "Buildings as Power Stations" concept developed by the SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre.
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Energy-positive status is achieved by way of reduced energy demand, renewable energy supply and storing energy for later use. Electricity is also imported from the grid when required and exported to the grid when there is a surplus.
Low-carbon cement was used for the construction of the Solcer House. To reduce its demand for energy, the house has high levels of thermal insulation, structural insulated panels (SIPS), external insulation and low-emissivity double-glazed aluminum-clad timber frame windows and doors.
Transpired solar collectors (TSC) are also employed. These comprise a perforated skin on the exterior of the house that draws air into the cavity and warms it via the sun's rays. It is then drawn into the house as a low-cost means of heating via ventilation.
Electricity is generated by way of a 4.3 kWp glazed photovoltaic solar panel array. This is fully integrated into the south-facing roof of the house, eliminating the need to have it bolted on. Energy that is not immediately required is stored in the house's 6.9-kWh battery. Electricity generated and stored is used to power the heating, ventilation, hot water system and household appliances.
The Solcer House took 16 weeks to build and was completed in February this year.
The video below shows the construction of the Solcer House.