Under the project, energy-saving measures including better insulation, solar panels and super-efficient boilers worth a total of £320,000 will be installed in 13 homes built between 1956 and 1970.
When complete later this year, specialist firm ACCE Solutions will use sophisticated monitoring devices to see what difference the ‘green’ technologies actually make in saving fuel costs.
The project, which involves researchers at Cambridge University and South Cambridgeshire District Council along with PRP Architects, will run for two years during which time the homes’ performance will be measured
Lessons will be fed into retrofit programmes that are set to take off under the Government’s Green Deal initiative.
Mick Williamson, managing director at Willmott Dixon Partnerships which is carrying out the installation work, said: “This project will give us important data in what measures have a real impact on energy use.
“With fuel costs set to rise even further this year, it could not have been carried out at a more important time.
“The Government, local authorities, RSLs, landlords and private residents will want to use what we learn here, especially as many of their homes that need retrofitting were built during the same period, or are older.
He added: “The twin imperative of cutting fuel costs and reducing carbon emissions means that energy retrofit work will soon enter the mainstream of home improvements.”
Residents in the homes involved are volunteers on the programme and will submit details of current energy usage before having the monitors installed to record future power consumption, with cheaper fuel bills being the main output they hope to see.
All participants on Rampton Drift are homeowners, a crucial target market for the Green Deal.