Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Ufloor Report Summary

Project ID: 736461

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Ufloor (Suspended timber floor insulation project)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2017-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

What is the problem/issue being addressed?
The global energy efficiency (EE) investment in building was $90 bn in 2014 alone with a projection of increasing to $125 bn by 2020. Driving uptake of energy efficiency measures in older homes has been a focus for European government policy for some time, and analysis of the recent mass energy efficiency support schemes identified that attractive payback and modest upfront cost are the key-predictors of uptake. As such, fabric energy efficiency measures (that are usually regarded as improvements to the thermal performance of the building envelope), can be broadly categorised as follows:

i. Those with an attractive payback have been widely adopted with little room for incremental gains; e.g. loft insulation, cavity wall insulation
ii. Those with prohibitive capex (i.e. long payback), where uptake is dependent on government schemes which have been progressively withdrawn; e.g. solid wall insulation, double-glazing

Consequently, improving the energy efficiency of the European housing stock has slowed significantly, and the potential to further reduce domestic carbon emissions is not being realised. We identified uninsulated floors as a great untapped potential.

According to our researches, there are ~ 23.6 million homes across Europe that are built before the 1920s, having constructed with uninsulated suspended floors. They are responsible for up to 20% of the total heat loss in homes. Despite this large potential, their update is limited, due to the high upfront costs (€4-5,000 per home) and high disruption to residents (3-4 weeks).
To address this challenge, we have designed and developed an innovative under-floor insulation technology, “Ufloor”, to i) eliminate structural disruption; ii) cut costs by speeding up the installation process. Successful deployment of Ufloor will enable us to provide a solution that is 60% cheaper, 5x faster and 80% less disruptive than traditional floor insulation methods, saving up to 2,900 kWh/yr (€150/yr) to residents.

Why is it important for society?
Ufloor addresses two major societal challenges: carbon emission and fuel poverty. Significant carbon emission can be achieved by reducing the space heating demand with c. 2,900 kWh/yr per property. Equally, thanks to the low price point and low payback, Ufloor has the potential to address householders who otherwise could not afford improving the thermal performance of their homes. On a macro level, this means significant reduction in Fuel Poverty across Europe.

What are the overall objectives?
This completed feasibility study is the result of Ufloor’s ‘Phase 1’ project and has included all the relevant aspects concerning its future development: technical and commercial analysis, regulatory requirements, potential partners within the supply chain and end-users, and a careful planning of the future steps.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The overall objectives of this SME phase 1 feasibility project were to:

1) identify, quantify and segment the European market;

2) create customer value proposition to all customer types/stakeholders; competitor analysis; cost-benefit analysis;

3) stakeholder engagement and partner scoping (suppliers, distributors, end-users);

4) product development roadmap and IP scope;

5) implementation plan (determine work packages and deliverables for ‘SME Instrument phase 2’ project;

The positive resulting figures and our strong capabilities and engagement have convinced us to continue with Ufloor’s development.

The possibility of being again funded by the European Commission with a ‘Phase 2’ project remains our preferable option because:
- we can cover the 30% needed for the project with our own funds (estimated Phase 2 total budget: ~1,3 M€) and
- the timeframe (24 months) seems realistic for the essential activities: develop hardware, software and material, test them with potential end users and apply simultaneously a commercial and communication strategy to ensure a successful market launch of Ufloor’s new service.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Alongside of the economic benefits, our technology has the potential to make a significant social impact by creating new jobs and alleviating fuel poverty. Specifically, Ufloor will:

(1) Help to alleviate Fuel Poverty through using low-cost/high impact technology to reduce energy bills and mitigate against hikes in energy prices. Ufloor‘s accessible price point (£1,000 - £1,500 per home) allows us to address vulnerable segments

(2) At full market penetration Ufloor has the potential to lift 450,000 families out of Fuel Poverty in the UK - given the average Fuel Poverty Gap is £150 or less for ~20% of the 2.35 million fuel poor households, which means the savings achieved by Ufloor will enable them reach the threshold. The social impact in the Netherlands is also expected to be significant, given 490,000 households are in Fuel Poverty and that the Netherlands has the highest rate of social housing with 3 million socially owned homes

(3) Create a less intrusive and disruptive process in comparison to current floor insulation methods to improve on customer satisfaction

(4) Improve long-term comfort levels for householders by eliminating draught problems, improve breathability of their homes (mitigating condensation) and so addressing cold and damp related health issues; decrease the incident of access winter death

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