The conference, Transforming the housing technology mindset, saw talks from TV presenter and architect George Clarke, as well as Nick Whitehouse, founder of Buildoffsite, and Mitsubishi Electric’s own experts.
The panel discussed how the traditional building technologies and processes have fundamentally remained the same for centuries and while so many other industries have gone through radical change, the domestic construction market has been stymied by inaction, government apathy and indecision; new solutions and new thinking is required to radically change the current status quo.
Ecodan ambassador Mr Clarke said: “When you look at almost all other aspects of our life, the pace of change and revolution has been exceptional. A government report released in 1997 recommended sweeping changes to the way homes are built and heated. When you consider this report was released a year before Google was founded, you only need to look at the technological revolution that followed to see how far behind the housing industry really is. Unfortunately, the housing technology market has made very little progress since 1997. We need systematic change at a global, national, local and personal level to get houses to a standard they should be. It’s time for the housing revolution.”
Innovations discussed by the panellists included the need for more modular built homes that can be manufactured indoors to increase build quality, lower costs by 33 percent, increase delivery speeds by 50 percent and halve carbon emissions.
For home heating, renewable energy sources were widely praised as the best solution to lift those in fuel poverty out and help reduce carbon emissions. Among the renewable solutions discussed were the further education and widespread adoption of heat pumps within the housing market.
“Demand for heat in the UK accounts for a third of all our carbon emissions and half of all greenhouse gases. This represents a huge opportunity and is an area that needs to change if we are to ever cut our own carbon emissions, and it’s an area that can change quite quickly if we apply the technology” said Martin Fahey, head of sustainability at Mitsubishi Electric.
He continued: “Heating is one way in which we can take a step towards making a difference. We need a mix of low carbon heating solutions and better thermal efficiency of buildings. Embracing innovative and renewable heat sources, like air source heat pumps, we can become prosumers – both producers and consumers of energy.”
The packed-out event brought together architects, specifiers, housing associations and heating engineers and showcased the need for increased building standards and greater use of renewable technologies. A video of the talk from Mr Clarke can be found here.