eHome2: How Saint-Gobain Weber is contributing to the future of housebuilding

Weber UK

There is increasing pressure on the construction industry to mitigate its impact on the environment as much as possible, not least because the UK’s built environment accounts for more than 40% of the country’s carbon footprint.

The government’s Future Home and Building Standards specify that carbon emissions from newbuild homes should be around 30% lower than current houses, meaning architects and contractors are having to double down on their sustainable practices. 

As part of Saint-Gobain’s vision to be the worldwide leader in light and sustainable construction and to understand how sustainable housing can be delivered at scale using construction solutions manufactured off-site, they have partnered with Barratt Developments and a host of innovative companies working on the eHome2 project.

What is eHome2?

Based at the University of Salford, within the Energy House 2.0 facility, the eHome2 is designed to explore the creation of zero-carbon housing at scale using off-site lightweight construction tools.

The project has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

As the largest test and research facility of its type, offering world-leading research and academic expertise in Smart Living, the laboratory containing eHome2 can recreate 95% of all weather conditions experienced across the world. There are two environmental chambers which can simulate temperatures ranging between -20˚C to +40˚C, and wind, rain, snow, and solar radiation. 

The facility enables researchers to test weather conditions immediately, thus reducing up to two years’ worth of work to just a couple of weeks.

Saint-Gobain Weber’s involvement in eHome2

eHome2 is a three-bedroom detached house designed to meet future performance and regulation requirements.

Our lightweight, flexible weberend MT render system has been used for the lower portion of the house along with our innovative brick slip system weberwall brick.

Using weberwall brick is more efficient and sustainable than using a traditional brick slip system for several reasons.

Firstly, it is quicker to apply. If using a traditional brick slip system, you’d have to apply a singular brick slip onto the substrate one by one. By using weberwall brick, you can lay 20 bricks at a time which considerably speeds up the process.

Furthermore, one weberwall brick sheet weighs the equivalent of one brick, meaning less storage is required on site, transport costs are lower, and there are fewer emissions from lorries.

The depth of the brick face also contributes to the sustainability of eHome2. Because weberwall brick is thinner than traditional brick, it frees up space within the cavity so that more insulation can be added, keeping the house a lot warmer than if we were to use traditional brick.  

During the design stage of the project, we received elevation drawings which enabled us to quantify the exact amount of weberwall brick required for the build and minimise wastage.

The top half of eHome2 has been finished using our webersil TF decorative render coating in Winter White, which provides a highly weather-resistant coating. This can be applied by hand or spray applied. In this case, we opted for the latter to give a slight texture and make the application faster.

We are really excited to be involved in this experiment which will gather data to help inform how housebuilders and the supply chain can build homes fit for the future while helping to reduce bills for consumers.

Find out more about eHome 2

Download the guide here or watch the video below...

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