How do you test and trial domestic building technologies effectively when the UK has such a broad variety of housing types? From Edwardian terraces to modern developments, there’s a smorgasbord of materials and specifications to contend with. Quite the headache for businesses developing energy efficiency and other environmental domestic building technologies.
Thankfully, our North Hub, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), has the answer in the form of their exemplar houses.
What are the exemplar houses?
The LJMU exemplar houses are the first purpose built, multi-unit housing test facility in the North of the UK. The houses are designed based on standards from the 1920s, 1970s, and present-day and are used to test emerging green technologies and building methods.
The technologies tested include smart energy monitoring systems and new materials and products aimed at improving the fabric of the house and the way in which it operates.
For businesses, they provide the perfect test bed for innovative new products and can give invaluable insight into product performance. That feeds into product development, as well as backing up pitches to buyers, investors and other stakeholders with rigorous, scientific data.
The sustainable housing challenge
As well as a potential resource to SME innovators, the houses are part of a project tackling sustainability challenges faced by the country’s housing stock, aligning with the Government’ target of cutting 78% of carbon emissions by 2035.
LJMU construction and technology experts have partnered with a world leading science centre, BRE, to test a variety of new green technologies. The research will inform on options for lowering emissions across the nation’s housing stock.
In addition, the houses will have research applications within other sectors, such as health care. Researchers can test home adaptations to support those living with dementia, preventing accidents, and supporting the overall wellbeing of residents.
Business case study: Energy Fairies
Energy Fairies are a family-run energy efficiency business based in Liverpool. They approached LJMU with an innovative idea for a thermal blind system made from sustainable materials.
The Energy Fairies’ product – the Flutter Shutter – helps homes save energy and heat as they insulate windows whilst letting light in.
LJMU worked with the company to test the concept and performance of their prototype in the three exemplar houses. The testing also looked at how the prototype compared to a conventional plantation shutter, with a carbon assessment measuring the total greenhouse gas emissions created.
Testing has enabled Energy Fairies to understand the performance of their product, including the comfort level it creates, the heat loss it prevents, and the reduction in greenhouse gas it achieves. The insight has helped the company launch the product into the market.
How can you take advantage of the houses?
Our Innovation Accelerator is designed to help you take innovative, green business ideas to market. It supports businesses to design and develop new ideas, and includes testing and refining products and services.
The exemplar housing facility at LJMU is just one of the many university resources our team can connect you with, to accelerate your journey to market.
Find out more here and get in touch using the contact form.