A study carried out by the University of Salford has suggested that a 30-year-old low-energy house design project in Manchester is still far more efficient than typical houses built to comply with current building regulations.

Approximately 200 of these homes were built in Salford in the early 1980s as social housing, with another 50 built for the private sector. The university's recent study looked into the buildings' long-term performance over the years since they were first built.

The results showed that the average space heating energy use for the Salford houses is less than 25% of the national average, and less than 60% of that required by the current UK Building Regulations. It has also been suggested that the houses would still be 25% more efficient than the standards that will be introduced in 2013, when the Building Regulations will change again.

The passive house design, which incorporates a high thermal capacity internal structure, protected by a highly-insulated, well-sealed envelope, are said to "provide a high level of continuous thermal comfort at low cost, while being fire, rot, damp, mould and vandal resistant". The result is an internal mass and thermal capacity about four times traditional values.

Other studies over the past few months