The University of Strathclyde has joined a Europe-wide initiative to make 22 million homes energy-neutral by 2050.
Engineers in Scotland will help design factories that produce refurbishment kits to transform properties built between 1950 and 1985 in regions bordering the North Sea.
The kits are described as being “placed over a house like a jacket” and feature solutions for sustainable energy production such as solar panels, heat pumps and ventilation. They aim to significantly reduce energy costs and help to achieve national climate change targets.
Supported by Interreg North Sea Region (NSR), the initiative encompasses areas of Norway, Denmark, the UK, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, home to around 60 million people.
The European building sector does not have the production facilities to do the job and the aim of t he three-year Named INDU-ZERO project is to creating a blueprint for an autonomous factory that can manufacture 15,000 refurbishment kits per year.
Similar factories will follow the blueprint across various European countries.
The University of Strathclyde’s Space Mechatronic Systems Technology Lab (SMeSTech) and Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) based in its Design, Manufacture & Engineering Management department (DMEM) and its Energy System Research Unit (ESRU) have joined the consortium with partners from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Sweden and Norway.
Professor Xiu Yan, director of SMeSTech lab and Indu-Zero project leader said: “This is a very ambitious project aiming to address the real challenge faced by millions of people living in energy inefficient homes in the North Sea region.
“The University’s multi-disciplinary team have blended their expertise to lead key work packages within this challenging and potentially impactful project.”
The AFRC and SMeSTech will create a blueprint of an autonomous factory using expertise in smart manufacturing and advanced digital manufacturing technologies, employing laser scanning techniques to map out renovation packages bespoke to house designs.
Danny McMahon, senior manufacturing engineer and team lead for digital manufacturing at the AFRC, said: “This is a really exciting project that could have a big impact on achieving climate targets, reducing energy costs for home owners and boosting sustainability.
“Manufacturing the packs needed to refurbish 22 million homes by 2050 is an enormous task, one that the current building sector cannot meet without help.
“INDU-ZERO is a direct response to this, designing factories that will manufacture renovation kits efficiently, benefiting from new manufacturing technologies and making small quantities per region to decrease transportation needs.”