New factory-built energy efficient house launched

A new factory-built home with an integrated photovoltaic roof has been unveiled at the BRE Innovation Park in Watford.

Developed by Üserhuus AG and Tigh Grian, the new house takes six weeks to construct in factory in Wales, and made weather-tight and secure onsite in just one day.

The developers claim a finished house will be complete and ready to move into in between one and two weeks.

Each unit is built, fully serviced, fitted out and decorated before leaving the factory.

And each unit also comes fully insulated and heated using a whole house mechanical heat recovery ventilation system, with wall-mounted electric panel heaters.

With Üserhuus’ input, there is also the option to replace the tiled roof with an entire photovoltaic “terra cotta” roof.

The basic house types aim to deliver very low annual energy bills of around £300-500 per annum.

What is really impressive about the home aside from its affordability and sustainability is that it reduces end-to-end construction time by half, so 8 weeks from factory to completion on site – currently the average home takes a minimum of 16 weeks to build,” said Director of the BRE Innovation Park Dr David Kelly. 

“This approach could really help us make significant progress with volume delivery.”

Tigh Grian Director Gordon Campbell commented: “While there is a clear challenge in the UK in relation to housing supply, it is also clear we have issues relating to the type of housing we provide, and how we go about it. Tigh Grian has brought all of these dynamics together with a design that can be adapted across all tenure types.”

Dr. Stephen Wittkopf, Managing Director, Üserhuus AG, added: “The future of architectural design lies with the integration of renewable energy technologies. The project on the BRE Innovation Park is showcasing a first-in-the-UK integrated, terracotta style cladding and roofing PV system which points the way for future housing – we are looking forward to seeing how it performs and we want to test other technologies.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues