UK first technology could be the key to decarbonising the grid and increasing sustainability across UK’s housing
Major UK housebuilder Cala Homes is working with E.ON, Energy Assets and SP Energy Networks to pilot a bespoke technology that can ultimately work towards decarbonising the grid. This will be achieved through adopting an innovative approach to harnessing green energy.
Cala’s research is so important because sustainability is a huge issue for the housing sector and changes need to be made in order for it to reduce its harmful effects on the environment.
Currently, the technology is being tested on 77 homes at Cala’s flagship Maidenhill community development in Newton Mearns, near Glasgow. If successful, it will be rolled out to other properties.
How does the technology make decarbonising the grid possible?
The solution will allow energy generated in a home, such as through PV panels, to be exported and used elsewhere as opposed to being consumed immediately. For example, it could be passed on to other homes or into the grid itself. Any energy transferred to the grid will not exceed its maximum load.
The smart technology solution manages energy via gateways installed in each home, enabling the connection of technologies like PV panels, air source heat pumps and electric vehicle charging points to work in harmony.
By allowing the green energy within a large development to be managed without overwhelming the grid, Cala claims that sustainable technology will be more widely available. This could make net zero homes a stronger possibility.
Cala states that without a solution like this, certain sites would require significant investment in additional substations, which could make them unviable. However, by using smart load management system, the possibilities for creating, harnessing and using green energy are greatly enhanced, offering wider implications for housebuilding across the UK and beyond.
New technology is needed to make zero carbon a reality
Stephen Kelso, group product design manager for Cala Homes, said:
“Building more sustainable communities is a huge task for the housebuilding sector and a major focus for Cala. New, innovative technology is vital to this, and we’ve been researching and trialling tech that can help us make net zero carbon a reality – but it’s not a case of just switching this on. The right infrastructure needs to be in place to support it.
“Communities like Maidenhill – with 800 homes overall, a new primary school and community amenities – have huge implications for the availability and use of energy. Making a site of this size as sustainable as possible brings additional considerations and puts more pressure on the grid. So, we asked the question: how do we meet this challenge and allow a development like this to fulfil its green energy potential?
“The result is what we believe to be a unique collaboration between a housebuilder, energy company and network operator to find a solution. The technology developed by E.ON is the first of its kind in the UK and there are plans to roll it out in other territories.”
Decarbonising the grid is vital for our futures
Stephen Kelso continued:
“Enabling technology like this opens up a world of low carbon elements that we can install in homes and neighbourhoods to help work towards our net zero aspirations. Our homeowners and their communities will see the benefits too, with more efficient and sustainable homes meaning potential energy and money savings.
“We are excited to see what impact this revolutionary technology might have on the sector as a whole, as we work towards a greener future.”
The chief operating officer for Energy Infrastructure Services at E.ON, Chris Lovatt, added:
“New homes can lead the way in decarbonising heating, transport and wider energy use, but we have to make sure networks are future-proofed so customers can get maximum advantage – whether that’s being able to share the energy they generate locally, exporting it to the grid, or just having the most sustainable home they can in a more affordable way.
“The UK will require hundreds of thousands of new low carbon homes to be built in the coming decades, connected to a smart energy network. Our solution will enable homes to be built to the highest sustainability standards – with heat pumps, solar panels and EV chargers – and connected to the grid where otherwise there could be insufficient network capacity. This collaboration with Cala Homes is a step towards ensuring that new communities across the UK realise their low carbon energy potential.”