LowCarb4Real: Developing Low Carbon Housing
Knowledge exchange for low carbon construction
The LowCarb4Real project has been carried out by an interdisciplinary partnership of Leeds Metropolitan University, University College London, Leeds University and the Good Homes Alliance, with funding from the UrbanBuzz Programme. This partnership has been supported by an advisory group of key stakeholders that included representatives from CLG, Taylor Wimpey, Redrow Homes, the Zero Carbon Hub, Construction Skills, National Trust, the Housing Corporation, the Home Builders Federation and the Sustainable Building Association (AECB). The LowCarb4Real project was designed to develop the knowledge necessary to make Low & Zero Carbon housing a reality, where it matters, “on the ground”. It sought to set up a knowledge exchange programme based on the lessons from the Stamford Brook housing field trial and the experience of those developers seeking to build beyond current building regulations. The Stamford Brook field trial was an action research project funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) and based around a 700 house development undertaken by Bryant Homes and Redrow Homes, on land owned by the National Trust. The 6 year field trial sought to assess, in a comprehensive way, the issues involved in improving the carbon performance of mainstream house building. It has generated an unprecedented amount of learning related to airtightness, envelope integrity and systems performance, at all levels including building physics, dwelling design, site management, workforce training and procurement systems. Given the challenging regulatory targets proposed by government aimed at Zero Carbon new housing within 10 years, it is crucial that the learning from field trials such as Stamford Brook is captured, refined, contextualised and embedded as thoroughly as possible within the house building industry. The project also seeks to provide a model for industry based research and knowledge exchange.