A new report from the University of Salford is called `The SALFORD Low Energy House: Learning From Our Past'. Could it be any more ironic?
"The three bedroom home I had on Ascension Rd. was far cheaper to heat than this two bedroomed creaking wooden box" Val Broadbent
A new 19 page report from the University of Salford goes into great thermal detail explaining how houses designed by the University for Salford Council thirty years ago are still way more energy efficient than most houses in Britain.
Two hundred of these so-called SALFORD houses were built by Salford Council in Pendleton and Lower Broughton, with around another fifty built by the private sector in Ordsall.
Last year, Salford University went back to study the houses that are still standing and concluded that "the SALFORD design continues to be ahead of its time" adding "Dwellings designed to the SALFORD house principles are expected to be able to meet the proposed 2016 near-zero Carbon Regulations at competitively low capital cost".
The energy use results from the houses even now are almost the same as when the houses were first monitored in the early 1980s…
For heating, the SALFORD houses use 75% less energy than the general UK housing stock, and are 50% more efficient in general energy use. And, the report explains, "the period of a year in which heating is required to maintain comfortable internal temperatures is also reduced from the UK average of around seven months to three to four months in the SALFORD dwellings". The SALFORD houses even use 40% less energy than houses built to the latest 2010 Building Regulations.
Incredible. Now the University is arguing that the SALFORD house design should be used as a blueprint for the future of energy saving houses. And none of this would have happened, the report explains, without the foresight of Salford Council, which, in 1975, approached the University to help design houses for low income, fuel poor tenants…
…Thirty years later and Salford Council gave the go-ahead for three streets in Lower Broughton that were full of these houses to be obliterated from the landscape to make way for Countryside Properties New Broughton project.
And, as Val Broadbent, one of the original occupants of the bulldozed super SALFORD houses on Ascension Road explains, the new Countryside Properties houses aren't fit to lick the doorsteps of her old home…
"All concerned in the New Broughton new build – the Council, Countryside, Salix, Contour - should be ashamed of what they have done" she says "They keep telling us how much better off we are. But the three bedroom home I had on Ascension Road was far cheaper to heat than this two bedroomed creaking wooden box.
"Everything about this new house falls far short of what we had, not just on energy efficiency, on everything" she adds "It's a clear case of not doing their homework or properly consulting with the residents before they started knocking them down, and pretending they were crumbling Victorian Terraces that had fallen into disrepair.
"Here the rooms are tiny and everything is very basic" she insists "How anyone can be proud of this build and win awards for good design is a joke. We are paying more rent and council tax here plus a service charge we never had to pay before. We have no driveway and the 'garden' is just a glorified sloping back yard. I get really upset when I think what we had and what we have now…"
The SALFORD Low Energy House: Learning From Our Past study concludes…
"We are now in the midst of a decade of rapid change driven by the concerns of climate change and the requirements placed upon the UK by EU legislation. In the 1970s Salford City Council responded locally in a socially just and innovative manner to the urgent needs of their tenants. This led to the development of housing which was decades ahead of its time. Thirty years on it is, once again, urgent necessity that is the driver for EU, national and local action."
For Salford Council tenants in Lower Broughton in 2011, it's too late…
The full report - SALFORD Low Energy House: Learning From Our Past by Dr Philip Brown, Dr Maria E Burke, Gareth Morris and Prof Peter J Webster - can be downloaded by clicking here.
See previous Salford Star report on Salford University's eco house project including the classic quote by another former resident "If those lads at the University can build a 100% replica of what we had I'd take it – we'll get a parade and a band going down the street!" Click here.
See Salford Star's call for a Public Inquiry into the Pathfinder New Broughton project – click here.