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1970s homes 'more energy efficient'

Houses built 30 years ago in an innovative scheme to cut energy use and costs are more efficient than homes built to the latest standards, a report has said.

The “tea cosy” house design created by the University of Salford in the mid-1970s and built in the early 1980s for low-income council tenants could provide a blueprint for meeting tough Government targets to cut carbon emissions from homes.

With the prototypes costing just 7 per cent more to build than similar conventional homes, the project shows that highly energy efficient buildings can be delivered without greatly adding to construction costs, the report by the university said.

Research by the University of Salford’s energy hub found the houses are 50 per cent more energy efficient than the average home, and use a quarter of the average energy for space heating.

They use less than two-thirds of the energy of homes built to meet 2010 building regulations, and will still be 25 per cent more efficient than houses built to even more stringent proposed regulations for 2013, the researchers said.

The design of the houses is one of the few that will be able to economically meet the targets for new homes to be zero-carbon by 2016, they suggested.

Phillip Brown, of the energy hub research team, said: “With many house builders currently worried that new homes are going to be much more expensive to build in order to meet the Government’s ambitious targets, the Salford model shows that this need not be the case.”