A development of six sustainable homes in Northamptonshire has just achieved a better than carbon zero rating. The Etopia Corby project scored 104 out of 100 using the government's Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP). Modular construction is often seen as the magic bullet when it comes to solving the housing crisis and meeting 2030 carbon zero targets. These A+ homes bring that one step closer to reality.
Above average homes
In the UK, the average home achieves a D rating under the EPC testing regime and emits 6 tonnes of CO2 each year. The Etopia homes fed back surplus energy to the grid rather than emitting it and trapped 0.525 tonnes of CO2 per year, or 13.125 tonnes over the course of a 25 year mortgage. That means the development of 6 eco homes would make a positive contribution of 163.125 tonnes over that period.
Surpassing Passivhaus standards
Air tightness contributes hugely to energy performance. This is tested by the Passivhaus standard and the Etopia homes performed twice as efficiently as the standard demands. To meet the standard, homes must demonstrate air changes of 0.6 per hour at 50 pascals. The Etopia house smashed the test with air changes of just 0.3.
Tests were carried out under strict Air Tightness Testing & Measurement Association (ATTMA) procedures designed to establish how well homes manage to conserve energy. This is determined by measuring air changes within an hour in a property where all doors and windows are closed.
Energy positive homes
Global Brand Director Rosanna Lawn is quick to point out that the Etopia homes are 'energy positive', generating more energy than they actually consume. Etopia claims to be the first developer to achieve such results on a large scale.
Etopia uses a modular construction system composed of panels that are manufactured in a purpose-built facility, then assembled on-site. The industry is already developing skills and creating jobs in modular construction across the country. These panels have a thermal efficiency U rating of just 0.13 as opposed to the 0.16 in traditional brick construction.
The homes are then equipped with energy-generating technology including solar panels and heat pumps to create a hybrid system for heat and energy supply that results in little or very low energy bills. Effectively, the entire development can be used as a decentralised energy grid, where power is produced, stored and used locally.
Smashing through eco barriers
Etopia CEO Joseph Daniels said he was delighted at the 'phenomenal results'. The Etopia development has set a new benchmark for the industry and developed a fully integrated pathway to achieving and surpassing eco ambitions.
By seamlessly combining MMC, energy generation and intelligent technology, the Etopia system hopes to be sustainable, viable and truly scalable. It certainly demonstrates the value of MMC in tackling the housing crisis and providing valuable jobs in modular construction.
Etopia isn't alone in providing comfortable, low energy homes. With communities more environmentally and ecologically aware than ever before, modular is forging ahead in the pursuit of those net carbon 2050 goals.