Redrow was one of the foremost of the U.K major housebuilders to investigate environmentally friendly home design through our involvement in building the ‘House of the Future’ at the Museum of Welsh Life, St Fagans, Cardiff.
Designed by Justico and Whiles, the home incorporates a host of innovative ideas which promote sustainability, including a ‘green’ roof, micro-processor controlled heating and cooling, ground heat pump technology, waste recycling facilities and excellent thermal insulation provided by sheeps wool.
Building upon and developing this expertise, Redrow designed and launched mainstream products meeting BRE EcoHomes “Excellent” status in 2005 and using the knowledge accumulated through this work, our Research and Sustainability team have engaged with stakeholders throughout the industry, collaborating with manufacturers and academia to develop new energy efficient products and to bring renewable technologies to market.
Through our involvement with leading exponents in this increasingly science based field, such as the Building Research Establishment (BRE), the Home Builders Federation, the Welsh Energy Research Centre and NHBC, we have shared our experiences to date in this field and by combining these lessons learned with the skills of our qualified, in-house Code assessment resource, we were amongst the first developers to achieve full certification for homes built to Code level 3 standards at ‘Vision’ at Devonport, following the exhaustive post construction audit demanded by the Code. At our developments at Farnborough and Tallsticks, Cheswick , we also feature homes built to Code level 3 , achieved through improvements to insulation performance of the building fabric and a mix of renewable technologies, including exhaust air heat pumps, combined heat and power units and solar thermal installations.
Work to refine the performance of our products continues. Building on our in-house thermal bridge modelling expertise we have instituted a thermal imaging test programme to assess our construction details, enabling us to focus on potential areas for further performance enhancement and research appropriate solutions.
Our initial results, exemplified by this thermal image of the Warwick housetype from our New Heritage Collection, show minimal heat loss which would be identifiable by bright colouration. The sensitivity of the equipment is shown by the bright area in the porch which indicates heat remaining absorbed within the building fabric from the porch light after it had been turned off for the test.
Our research work does not focus on building fabric improvements alone, we are also investigating the feasibility of small scale district heating installations incorporating biomass or ground source heat pump technology. These compact energy centres are designed to reliably deliver domestic heating and hot water from renewable sources through a properly managed and maintained service and potentially offer a more effective long term solution than could be achieved by fitting homes with individual renewable technologies.