The new-build ‘homes’ where energy scientists play God with the weather

(The Guardian, 12 Jan 2023) Researchers hope £16m temperature-controlled chamber can stress test green tech to help make houses energy efficient.

The temperature is almost -6C and despite the snow, workers are frantically putting the finishing touches to a pair of detached houses that look ready to move into. But all is not as it seems in the energy industry equivalent of The Truman Show.

The new builds are nestled inside Energy House 2.0, a £16m temperature-controlled chamber at the University of Salford being unveiled on Thursday. It is hoped the research facility will play an important role in testing the technologies that will make our homes greener and cheaper to run, at a time when households are being crippled by sky-high energy bills.

Inside the chamber, scientists can play God, sending the temperature plummeting to -20C or to the shock high of 40C experienced for the first time in the UK last summer. They can also batter the houses with gale force winds or, courtesy of a snow machine, manufacture a blizzard to test its energy performance.

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The Guardian, 12 Jan 2023: The new-build ‘homes’ where energy scientists play God with the weather