‘Groundbreaking’ Newton Mearns pilot tests new technology to help deliver sustainable homes

Stephen Kelso

NEW technology tipped to enable communities to become ‘significantly’ more sustainable is being used for the first time in the UK.

Housebuilder Cala Homes is working with E.ON, Energy Assets and SP Energy Networks to pilot a bespoke solution which helps harness green energy to work towards decarbonising the grid.

The technology is being tested initially in 77 homes at Cala’s development within the new 800-home Maidenhill community in Newton Mearns, near Glasgow, with plans to roll it out further thereafter.

Stephen Kelso, group product design manager for Cala Homes, explained, “Building more sustainable communities is a huge task for the housebuilding sector and a major focus for Cala. New, innovative technology is vital to this, and we’ve been researching and trialling tech that can help us make net zero carbon a reality – but it’s not a case of just switching this on. The right infrastructure needs to be in place to support it.

“Communities like Maidenhill – with 800 homes overall, a new primary school and community amenities – have huge implications for the availability and use of energy. Making a site of this size as sustainable as possible brings additional considerations and puts more pressure on the grid. So, we asked the question: how do we meet this challenge and allow a development like this to fulfil its green energy potential?

“The result is what we believe to be a unique collaboration between a housebuilder, energy company and network operator to find a solution. The technology developed by E.ON is the first of its kind in the UK and there are plans to roll it out in other territories.”

The solution is designed to allow energy generated in a home – for example through PV panels – which is not consumed right away to be exported and used elsewhere, either in other homes in the area or into the grid.

Through gateways installed in each home, the smart solution manages the energy flows, enabling the connection of technologies like PV panels, air source heat pumps and electric vehicle charging points to work in harmony.

Stephen Kelso added, “Enabling technology like this opens up a world of low carbon elements that we can install in homes and neighbourhoods to help work towards our net zero aspirations. Our homeowners and their communities will see the benefits too, with more efficient and sustainable homes meaning potential energy and money savings.

“We are excited to see what impact this revolutionary technology might have on the sector as a whole, as we work towards a greener future.”

Chris Lovatt, COO for energy infrastructure services at E.ON, commented, “New homes can lead the way in decarbonising heating, transport and wider energy use, but we have to make sure networks are future-proofed so customers can get maximum advantage – whether that’s being able to share the energy they generate locally, exporting it to the grid, or just having the most sustainable home they can in a more affordable way.

“The UK will require hundreds of thousands of new low carbon homes to be built in the coming decades, connected to a smart energy network. Our solution will enable homes to be built to the highest sustainability standards – with heat pumps, solar panels and EV chargers – and connected to the grid where otherwise there could be insufficient network capacity. This collaboration with Cala Homes is a step towards ensuring that new communities across the UK realise their low carbon energy potential.”