The UK’s first fully solar-powered new build home is performing above expectations, according to an interim report into the effectiveness of its energy system.
Reviewing energy flows within Caplin Homes’ Solar House in Leicestershire, the paper suggests that the building will successfully remain self-sufficient all year round. Performance characteristics of the zero carbon Solar House explores the house’s heating and cooling requirements, and reviews the discharging and recharging of the building’s unique inter-seasonal energy store, the Earth Energy Bank (EEB).
Even with the relatively mild winter taken into account, energy flows into and out of the EEB, which is drawn upon to heat the house and provide hot water during the coldest weeks of the year, are at a level to effectively recharge in spring and summer. The interim paper shows that the house was able to maintain a stable temperature throughout the winter season.
The Solar House, built by Caplin Homes, uses a unique combination of new and existing technologies to meet its full annual heating, hot water and lighting requirements. The project aims to demonstrate that zero carbon house building is both practical and financially viable.
Compiled by Robin Talbot as part of an MSc by Research degree at De Montfort University’s Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, the interim and final reports will be used to evaluate the system, which was used for the first time in the Solar House. Caplin Homes will then use the results to refine the design of its energy system, with a view to developing out-of-the box solutions for a range of house types.
Michael Goddard, director of Caplin Homes, commented: “We’re extremely pleased with the results achieved so far. The report has shown the system to be effective and suggests that we may even have overspecified certain aspects of the building’s technology. We’re already using this data to further improve our system models, so that future projects are even more cost-effective.”
The report covers the period between August 2013 and April 2014 and will be followed with a full twelve month review of the building’s performance later this year.