Future Homes Test Aircrete

H+H is participating in a project trialling different methods of meeting the energy performance required by the Future Homes standard.

Project 80 is a pioneering development of new homes for Midlands Heart Housing Association. The homes are being built to Future Homes standards – requiring a reduction of 75-80% in carbon emissions over current

Building Regulations, with the project using a range of materials and building types.

The project is a collaboration between product suppliers, academic researchers from Birmingham City University, specialist contractors, architects, local building contractor Tricas, the Building Alliance and social housing provider Midlands Heart.

Twelve houses are included in the first phase of the project, every stage of which is being monitored, measured and evaluated.  The aim is to design standard houses using locally sourced materials and labour and compare the performance of different methods and materials to see which produce the best results at what cost.

Energy efficiency standards required by Future Homes will be met by a combination of extremely high fabric efficiency and low carbon heating – typically heat pumps.

Twelve months of post occupancy evaluation will consider the energy efficiency in use, the cost of heating and the experiences of the residents. Residents will also be provided with user guides and online training prior to letting as some aspects of living the homes will be novel.

Over time, more building types and materials will be included in the study with the aim of producing detailed evaluation to give government, among others, the knowledge and data needed to make evidence-based decisions about future housing design.

Uniquely, the houses are being delivered through collaboration across the supply chain at every stage.  Mike Leonard, CEO of The Building Alliance and Chair of the Project 80 Steering Group points out: “The journey to net zero is so complex and difficult that we will never get there unless we collaborate and work together more effectively”.

Mike also notes: “Most of the technical knowledge and the real understanding exists within the manufacturing base – and if you can tap into that you will get the best results.”

H+H has a track record of working collaboratively to achieve every higher performance standards. As long ago as 2007 the company was involved in the first prototype zero carbon homes and joined collaboration again in the AIMC4 project to understand the impact of a fabric first approach on energy efficient homes.

Amos Rodrigues, the H+H representative working on Project 80 is clear about the company’s objectives. “We see aircrete as the building material for sustainable, resilient modern homes and are delighted to be involved in a project planned to provide accurate data allowing different materials and methods of build to be accurately compared.”

The first homes are due to be handed over in January 2022 when the next phase, focusing on maisonettes, will start. Ultimately, 80 homes will be designed and built to complete the project. 

Read the Midland Heart Development Blog here