Page last updated at 23:04 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 00:04 UK

Future solutions in 1930s house

1930s Ecohouse
The house will have hundreds of monitors installed in it

A 1930s-style house is being built on a university campus to help people who own old homes to save on energy costs.

The replica house at Nottingham University will have hundreds of sensors to monitor heat loss and find better ways to update old houses.

The project, supported by energy firm E.ON, is meant to learn from the failings of homes of the past.

The three-year project will investigate how a suburban home could be upgraded to help reduce CO2 emissions.

Timber extension

Researcher Dr Mark Gillott described the house as "probably the most highly monitored home of its type in the world".

Ecotown monitoring screen
We are not monitoring just the house but the people living there
Dr Mark Gillott, Nottingham University

"We have to develop solutions that are applicable in the real world."

Dr Gillott said: "We have 21 million existing homes in the UK and 15 million of them have inadequate insulation. We want to take the house to a zero-carbon standard within three years."

He said the monitoring used in the house is based on automotive manufacturing industry tracking and will be used to determine people's energy consumption.

The researchers will also try to work out how to make best use of materials, renewable energy technology and energy management systems in the three-bedroom semi-detached house.

The government has set targets for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016.

"We will have a family moving in to live in the house so we will get real data. We are not monitoring just the house but the people living there," Dr Gillott said.

Research work will look at retro-fitting for existing houses including changes to the building fabric, heating and energy use including insulation, glazing, and building automation technology.

A timber-frame extension will be added to the existing house during the project to provide additional living spaces and allow new energy-saving initiatives to be tested.

The roof of the extension will be designed to allow solar panels to be installed in the most effective manner.

The house is one of six sustainable homes being built on the campus.

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