The future is here
By Mike Butterick, marketing director, Saint-Gobain Glass.
With the Future Homes Standard currently being debated and due to be introduced in just two years’ time, the industry needs to get ready for a step change.
Here at Saint-Gobain Glass, we believe we have already innovated the products that will be required to meet the new standard and are putting them to even more rigorous testing as part of a world-first research project at the University of Salford’s Energy House 2.0.
Saint-Gobain has joined forces with Barratt Homes to create eHome2, a three-bedroom family home built inside a climate-controlled chamber. The house has been built using a variety of market leading energy efficient and technology-based products, both within the fabric of the building, and inside the home. This includes double and triple glazing from Saint-Gobain Glass.
Initially, 1.2 Uw double-glazed, casement windows have been fitted into ehome2 by Barratt Homes. These will then be converted to 0.8 Uw triple-glazed casement windows by replacing the insulated glass units – the specification currently in the draft Future Homes Standard 2025.
The double and triple glazed windows feature Planitherm One T low-e coated glass from Saint-Gobain Glass and have been manufactured by Regency Glass, using the Eurocell Modus Window System fabricated by Nova Group and installed by New View.
The research project will discover the real-life difference that high-performance double and triple glazing will have on the energy efficiency and comfort of an operationally net zero newbuild property.
This unique £16m research facility is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The research will help to understand the relationship between the façade, windows and heating solutions, which has not been considered to this level before – and is so important as energy bills continue to rise and the country moves away from gas to electric.
The house will undergo rigorous testing during the next nine months including thermal performance, energy efficiency, running costs and comfort, as well as its ability to cope with extreme climates that the UK is set to face over the coming years, such as wind, rain and snow, and temperatures ranging from -20 to +40 degrees Celsius.
The precisely controlled laboratory conditions within the chamber will enable university researchers to replicate and understand the impact of multiple technologies in the home and reliably gather real world data in weeks rather than months or years.
This is a collaborative project involving the entire supply chain and demonstrates that the existing UK window industry is ready and able to deliver the high-performance casement windows demanded by the Future Homes Standard 2025.
This ground-breaking laboratory will play a key role in accelerating the housebuilding industry’s progress towards designing and building large volume, low carbon and net zero houses that are sustainable and comfortable, and will cost homeowners far less to heat and run at a time when we’re in the midst of an energy crisis.
This cutting-edge research could not have come at a better time. It will make a real difference to people’s lives and will result in a step-change in the way homes are built and used in the future.
Here at Saint-Gobain Glass, we have always known how important the correct specification of glass is in ensuring the integrity of a fabric-first approach to housebuilding. Now we will be able to have this scientifically tested in what is effectively a huge snow globe.
The industry doesn’t have very long to respond to government targets and prepare for the Future Homes Standard but it is very reassuring that the glazing products that will be required in 2025 are available today.