The serious health effects of cold homes have led London’s Islington Council to trial a ‘warmth on prescription’ programme aimed at improving the homes of those with serious health conditions, using robots from Q-Bot to insulate floors.
The Q-Bot devices crawl under suspended timber floors and insulate them from below, making the property not only warmer but also much less draughty. After running initial trials at six properties, the council performed EPC assessments of the test houses to check the improvements. It turned out that insulating the floors using robots was the most cost-effective energy improvement, at around £1,000 per each EPC point gained compared to £2,000 when externally insulating the wall and £12,000 when replacing the windows.
Q-Bot’s SprayBots can access a building through an external opening, perform a visual analysis, and build up a 3D map of the space. It then sprays the insulation before finally inspecting the job done, thus facilitating quality control and validating energy savings. Because the robot can fold and deploy through small openings, access can be through an air vent in an outside wall or through a small opening in the floor within the property.
Following the test results as well as feedback from its tenant, the council is working with BEIS (the department taking over from DECC) to expand the programme later this year.
John Kolm-Murray, affordable energy manager, Islington Council, said, “Using Q-Bot’s devices allowed us to bring our older homes to a higher standard with less disruption to our tenants than other insulation measures, and at a reasonable cost. Our assessment of the trials has been positive and we are looking at ways we can roll this out across more of our homes.”