Sigma Home: energy optimization for households

Rexel equipped the first energy-efficient home, located in the BRE innovation park in England. Built and fitted with state-of-the-art technology, Sigma Home showcases the latest advances in energy efficiency. Join us and take a tour of the Sigma Home!

Sigma Home plan (source)

A successful combination of expertise

Sigma Home is the result of a partnership between two main players of the construction and energy sector. Stewart Milne Group took care of construction while Rexel Energy Solution dealt with energy products and technology.

The house was built on the innovation park of the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in Watford, United Kingdom. The innovation park showcases the most innovative projects in the fields of eco-construction, landscape design and low-carbon technologies. Sigma Home was built in compliance with the British government’s Code for sustainable homes, “the national standard for the sustainable design and construction of new homes”. It uses a 1 to 6-star system to rate the sustainability performance of a new home; Sigma Home received an extremely encouraging rating of five stars thanks to its “carbon neutrality”, low water consumption, ergonomic design, efficient use of space and energy efficiency.

Decentralized and sustainable energy generation

The four-storey Sigma Home relies on various renewable energy sources which cover almost all of its hot water needs (photovoltaic solar panels and wind turbines were placed on the roof). Optimal air-tightness and therefore reduced leakages is one of the components of the building’s overall energy performance.

Picture by Peter White, BRE (source)

Energy optimization thanks to innovative technologies

Sigma Home uses a heat pump located in the backyard which captures warm ambient air for heating. A ventilation system fitted with thermal sensors permanently regulates the temperature in each room.

Particular attention was also paid to lighting; Sigma Home relies on light-emitting diodes (LED), which use little energy and provide better and longer lighting than incandescent light bulbs.

Finally, the house is equipped with a smart electric car charging station which chooses the best time and energy source to recharge the vehicle’s battery.

A prototype which can be replicated on a large scale

In order to test the house, a family lived in it during two weeks of every season. A team of researchers of the Oxford Brookes University studied their feedback along with technical observations. They measured a set of variables (carbon consumption, thermal comfort, humidity rate, user interface, etc.) and made recommendations for improvement. The Stewart Milne group then designed and sold a Sigma II prototype using more efficient materials. Results showed that this new model could be replicated on a larger scale.

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