Case study two - Case study Hero_Energy House

University of Salford Energy House

The University of Salford created the concept of the world’s first ‘Energy House’.
  • Customer
    University of Salford
  • Procurement Route
  • Completion Date
  • Quantity Surveyor
    David Simms
  • Value
  • Form Of Contract
    JCT 2005
  • Project Manager
    David Simms
  • Program Duration
    24 weeks
  • Architect
    Halliday Meecham
  • ME Engineer
Energy House


The University of Salford created the concept of the world’s first ‘Energy House’ to act as a test-bed for new materials, behavioural studies and innovative theories linked to sustainability. ISG was tasked with making this into a reality. 

Tests can now be carried out on behalf of both public and commercial organisations to study the effects of heat, light and humidity levels on the building and on materials that are retrofitted to the house, providing qualitative data on products and materials that can help to reduce both energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

The Energy House is a multi-disciplinary research centre, utilising the expertise of over 25 academics, and is a centre of excellence for energy research in the UK.

The Project

Traditional construction materials and methods were used to create one and a half authentic Victorian terraced houses, built to Victorian standards with lath, plaster walls, ceilings and even ill-fitting doors and windows.

The original floor slab in Cockroft’s Van de Graaf Hall was not suitable for the loading from the new structure, so we had to find a piling rig that would fit inside the Hall. A compression system was used to drive the piles so no spoil was produced.

As Europe’s first life-like house in a controlled environment, the two-storey, two-bedroom house sits within a sealed testing area which was fitted with complex Mechanical & Engineering equipment that allows levels of heat, light, rain, snow and other factors to be independently managed for testing.

The Added Value

Due to the unique nature of the scheme, interrogation of the programme was carried out throughout the contract. As well as building the highly experimental house, ISG was headline sponsor for the inaugural ‘Retrofit Salford 2011’ conference.

The new facility was built to mirror a typical 1920’s house with reclaimed materials including timber, roof tiles and 20,000 bricks from recently demolished terraced homes. 

The Energy House provides a unique testing and development facility in which leading researchers can work collaboratively with industry to develop and test new technology and solutions to improve the energy efficiency of existing projects and processes.