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Showcasing sustainability

A £3.3 million project to showcase how sustainability can be incorporated into affordable
housing will feature homes with voltage optimisation units from Marshall-Tufflex.

A £3.3 million project to showcase how sustainability can be incorporated into affordable housing will feature homes with voltage optimisation units from Marshall-Tufflex

Housing Innovation Showcase 2012, a partnership between Kingdom Housing Association (KHA) and Fife Council, with support from Fife Construction Forum & Green Business Fife, features 27 new homes on a site in Dunfermline, Scotland, each built by one of 10 development partners on behalf of Fife Housing Partnership and Fife Economy Partnership.

Glenrothes-based Lomond Homes, in conjunction with KHA, has been tasked with building a pair of semi-detached two and three bedroom homes for the project, and it is these that are being fitted with the Voltis Home domestic voltage optimisation system from Marshall-Tufflex. The units were supplied by Edmundson Electrical in Kirkcaldy.

Lomond Homes’ Senior Architectural Technician Derek Grubb said: “When we heard about Voltis Home it sounded fantastic and just the kind of thing the Housing Innovation Showcase project would be interested in. We pitched the idea to the KHA development team and it was accepted. We are the only exhibitors showcasing voltage optimisation. It is a fantastic technology that’s simple, inexpensive and gives an immediate benefit from the moment it is installed.”

The Voltis Home units, which measure 300mm x 240mm x 147mm, have each taken about one hour to install and because Voltis Home is rated to 60Amps there is no need to isolate circuits such as the cooker or power showers, making installation simple.

Lomond Homes believes that domestic optimisers offer RSLs and homeowners a good-value energy management solution, as Grubb explained. “For a relatively low cost with a potentially short payback period, Voltis Home can be installed, bringing instant benefits by reducing power bills and extending the life of appliances. I am also very impressed by the safety features built in to Voltis Home; for example its ability to cope with power spikes and equipment that draws high electrical loads. That it can be easily retrofitted and has no user controls are added bonuses. RSLs want to address fuel poverty and have a keen interest in the welfare of their tenants, making voltage optimisation an exciting proposition for them. We’ll also be fitting Voltis Home as standard on our next 133-property private development in Lochgelly.

The Lomond Homes properties are being constructed using its Breathing Wall system utilising Dynamic Insulation technology, which transforms external walls into heat exchangers, capturing escaping heat and using that to pre-warm incoming air, reducing the demand for space heating.

Bill Banks, Deputy Chief Executive and Development and Property Services Director for Kingdom Housing Association, said: “The Innovation project is an excellent opportunity to showcase the various house systems and new technologies.

The voltage optimisation system is a technology we were very keen to test, particularly given the benefits this could bring to tenants in respect of fuel costs.”

Housing Innovation Showcase 2012 runs from 15-31 May, after which the properties will be tenanted. A key element of the project is a comprehensive monitoring of the performance of the different house systems and a comparative analysis of the benefits of different renewable energy options and other enhanced specifications of the properties.

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