Matildas Planet to test low carbon social housing retrofit solution in Living Lab

Published: 23 November 2020

An innovative low carbon retrofit solution for the social housing sector, that uses a modular approach to keep costs low, is to be trialled in Energy Systems Catapult’s Living Lab.

Social enterprise Matilda’s Planet has developed a retrofit social housing solution that comprises state-of-the-art insulation combined with renewable heating and generation technologies.

Aimed at the social housing environment, the ‘Matilda’s House’ concept takes a modular approach that is designed to be systematically upgraded over several years to keep costs low, while making homes warmer, reducing energy bills and cutting carbon emissions.

Matildas House Retrofit

Matilda’s Planet General Manager, Steve Saxty, said: “Many retrofit projects prioritise the easy to treat properties, with those that are harder to treat being overlooked. Many of these are low in value properties and their occupants are in desperate need of bill reduction to help lift them out of fuel poverty.’’

“Matilda’s Planet aim to demonstrate that taking a modular approach to home retrofit, implemented in a stepped approach, can be a cost-effective solution to help meet UK Net Zero targets.”

Following this modular approach, Matilda’s Planet will install a range of low carbon technologies and use the Living Lab to gauge their impact, including:

  • Loft Insulation
  • Floor Insulation
  • Triple-glazed Doors & Windows
  • Matilda’s Blanket – cutting-edge Internal Wall Insulation System with little or no occupier disruption during install
  • Solar PV
  • Solar-assisted Heat Pump
  • Solar Thermal Mech Ventilation
  • LED Lighting
  • Matilda’s Sunshine – Infrared Radiant Heating Panels (ERP A+ Rated)

The Living Lab is a safe and affordable, real-world test environment for trialling new energy efficiency products, services and business models, with the aim of de-risking and scaling innovations for market.

With 200 digitally connected smart-homes, the Living Lab helps innovative businesses rapidly design, market-test and launch smart energy innovations that can be integrated with mainstream smart heating controls, smart meters, IoT devices, and electric vehicle chargers.

Living Lab business lead, Rebecca Sweeney, said: “Energy Systems Catapult will draw on experts in data science and consumer insight to deliver proof of concept for ‘Matilda’s House’.

“With room-by room smart heating controls and sensors monitoring performance, the Living Lab will help Matilda’s Planet validate their retrofit solution by gathering and analysing real world data such as energy consumption, air temperatures, relative humidity and local weather.”

“Then our consumer insight specialists will work with residents to analyse the lived experience of the Matilda’s House solution to validate the benefits, gain a deeper understanding of the customer value proposition and determine how best to sell these benefits to the consumer market.”

Read more on the importance of social landlords for net zero here.

Living Lab performance analysis of Matilda’s House retrofit will include:

  • Energy consumption split between gas and electricity
  • Temperature performance in each room, such as temperature ranges, radiator temperatures
  • Analysis of historic smart meter data compared to trial data
  • Understanding of the households’ installation experience and their experience of living with the technologies at each stage of the trial
  • Knowledge of how the energy experience has changed in the home at each stage and with each technology installed
  • An understanding of how to prioritise which measures to offer to households to gain the greatest improvement in energy experience.

In September, the Living Lab announced it had undergone a significant upgrade over the previous six-months – including a new digital integration platform that was truly open, interoperable and scalable.  The Living Lab also provides national capability to test and demonstrate market arrangements, policy and regulations with real consumers – as we move towards a Net Zero carbon future.