Heating & Powering the Homes of Tomorrow

It’s that time of year again. The nights are drawing in. Winter’s almost upon us. And even without a global pandemic to defeat, we’re all starting to spend more time indoors. So, as we collectively turn the heating up another degree or two, we thought we’d ask the question: how can we continue to heat and power our homes and offices without depleting the earth’s natural resources?

As we all know, it’s simply not feasible to continue burning fossil fuels at the rate we currently are. But it’s also impossible for all UK homes to make the switch to electricity – primarily because our electricity network simply doesn’t have the capacity to support the whole country’s energy needs.

So, what do we do?

First of all, wherever possible, we need to swap out fossil fuels for renewable energy sources like wind, solar, hydro and geothermal power. And we’re on the right track. Last year, renewable energy sources accounted for almost 40% of the electricity generated in the UK. But although we’re building more wind farms, installing more solar panels, and harnessing more tidal power every year, there’s still a way to go to generate enough renewable heat and power for us all. So, with that in mind, the first and most valuable thing we can do is to make our buildings more energy efficient.

What do we mean when we talk about energy efficiency?

Put simply, an energy efficient building is one that requires less energy to stay heated and powered. For example, a well-insulated building is energy efficient for the simple reason that it doesn’t need as much energy to maintain a comfortable, consistent temperature. Or even better, MVHR (Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery) systems are efficient in that they retain previously used energy, recycling and recirculating it throughout the building.

This is just what we’re doing at Sylvan Grove, our new 32-storey mixed-use development on South London’s Old Kent Road. Upon completion, it will be the first UK scheme to use MVHR units at scale to meet the building’s heating and hot water requirements. Mechanical Ventilation will distribute fresh, filtered air throughout the building, while the Heat Recovery system will lock in and recirculate existing heat, even harnessing body heat to reduce overall energy consumption.

As you’ve probably guessed, this is good news for the planet. Because the building is heat autonomous, it means there’s no need to import energy to heat the homes and workspaces. Which, in turn, reduces the demand on fossil fuels and takes the strain off the UK’s electricity grid. All in all, it translates to 69% less carbon emissions than is expected for a building of its size.

And it’s good news for those living at Sylvan Grove, too. The efficient use of energy means a significant drop in overall energy consumption, which brings residents a healthy 32% reduction in their bills – an especially welcome gift over the chilly winter months.

Schemes like Sylvan Grove are all part of our wider mission to go entirely energy positive by 2025. This means that as well as being 100% electricity powered, every one of our buildings will produce more energy than it uses. Ambitious, we know. But it’s essential that we all work towards a way of thinking and building where energy efficiency is a priority, not just a bonus.

In creating buildings which maximise energy efficiency, we’re able to raise the bar and show the rest of the industry what’s possible. If we as a country can place energy efficiency at the heart of every new scheme, we’ll be well on our way to reaching our climate targets and reducing our carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050.

And that’s a thought to brighten up these dark winter nights.

 

Heating & Powering the Homes of Tomorrow - Joseph Homes Heating & Powering the Homes of Tomorrow - Joseph Homes Heating & Powering the Homes of Tomorrow - Joseph Homes
Heating & Powering the Homes of Tomorrow - Joseph Homes Heating & Powering the Homes of Tomorrow - Joseph Homes Heating & Powering the Homes of Tomorrow - Joseph Homes
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