STEWART Milne Group’s director of innovation and sustainability is set to discuss the progress of sustainable housing in Scotland at two industry events this week.
Stewart Dalgarno, who is also project director of AIMCH (Advanced Industrialised Methods for Construction of Homes), will present on the outcomes of a three-year, £6.5 million R&D project at the NHBC Building for Tomorrow conference in Edinburgh on March 7.
The AIMCH research project, which comprises housebuilders, stakeholders, suppliers, sub-contractors, and academia, was set up to develop, trial and scale-up industrialised housing techniques which can accelerate the move towards net zero.
The following day, Mr Dalgarno will take part in a panel session at Futurebuild, London. There he will discuss the consumer impacts and grid challenges of housing electrification, as we shift from gas boilers, embrace EV charging and adopt renewable technology.
“The ultimate goal beyond AIMCH housing industrialisation, is to see the sector get to a point where all new homes or communities consume only the energy they produce, with each one acting as its own energy generator, storing power and balancing consumption and generation, so that we are at least 50% less reliant on the grid network,” he said.
“That can be achieved through the wholesale electrification of new homes, replacing gas boilers with air pump heating systems, integrated photovoltaic technologies, thermal and power storage and EV charging points.”
One of the biggest challenges to electrification is the increasing constraints of the grid, which is said to be creating a ‘bottleneck’, slowing down the rollout of green technologies and delaying the grid connection of new build programmes.
To address this, Stewart Milne Group is collaborating to develop the next demonstrator R&D project, working with AIMCH partners, network operators and energy technology partners to accelerate the decarbonisation of new homes and grid connectivity. The challenge is to cut grid reliance by 50% and reduce energy bills by 30%.
“The UK needs to build 300,000 new homes a year and to reach net zero, they must go all electric,” Mr Dalgarno added. “AIMCH provides scalable solutions, but electrifying housing triples demand, and in many areas the grid is a known bottleneck resulting in network operators potentially imposing a limit on connections or adding reinforcement costs. These threaten to stifle net zero housing delivery, limit network capacity and slow grid decarbonisation.”