Traditional terrace retrofitted with latest technology for solar research

Technology used in the UK’s first solar house – which went onto the market with a £1million price tag - is now being used on a traditional terrace.

De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) Institute of  Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD) has teamed up with Caplin Homes to run the project at a house in Grasmere Street, just yards from campus.


The IESD team will monitor how successful it has been and use the house as a showcase to social landlords in Leicester of the energy-efficient measures which can be achieved in existing properties.

Central to it all is an “earth energy bank” – a way of using the earth under the house to store heat. Holes are drilled into the ground underneath the house and pipes inserted to carry the thermal energy from the roof into the ground. Electrical energy created by the panels is used to heat the hot water.

The technology was first used in 2013 in the solar house in Great Glen, Leicestershire. The first of its kind in the world, it is fully powered throughout the year using the sun’s energy.


Dr Rick Greenough, Reader in Industry Sustainability, said: “Earth bank technology is relatively new and what we are interested in is measuring how it will work when it’s used in an older property.

“We know it will not be as efficient as the solar house because these measures work best on new build homes and this terrace was built years before people thought of cavity wall insulation!

“It will provide us with a marker and a better idea of how the technology can be adapted. It’s very much a Leicester project – Caplin Homes is in Leicester and EAS Windows in Oadby and we’ll be showing around local social landlords once the work is finished.”

Builders have been working in the house since the beginning of the Easter holidays. The floor has been dug up to install underfloor heating, the latest double-glazed windows have been added and a new boiler system is next on the list.

An outside shed will be used to house the cables and equipment. Measurements will be taken from the earth bank outside the property.
Posted on Friday 10th April 2015

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