From U-values to conjugal bliss in under 3 minutes

Who says energy efficiency can’t be sexy?

A new animation charting two individual’s journey from loneliness to conjugal bliss is set to alert the nation to the romantic benefits of lower U-values. Enter the world of When Alan met Sharon (A U-value Romance), a story which leads us in just 2 minutes 54 seconds to a deeper understanding of both U-values and the art of seduction.

This short animation is already an award-winner, having picked up a competition prize from the Sustainable Energy Academy, the charity which coordinates SuperHomes. It was also awarded second place in the Durham Energy Futures Film Festival.

Students at the  London-Loughborough (LoLo) Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand Reduction were set the challenge of making a video as part of a summer event. The brief required students to answer the question What is a U-value?

The Winner

The action of the winning animation is beautifully animated to the soundtrack of the 1970 hit song “Our House” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. And the viewer is left in no doubt that lower U-values are the way to go for both a warmer hearth and a warmer heart.

The video’s producers – Faye Wade, Kate Simpson, Louis Fifield and Mike Fell – shared a £150 first prize. The prize was sponsored on the understanding that the winning video would be used by SuperHomes to promote the better understanding of U-values.

Understanding U-values

Whilst the U-value of materials is a crucially important measurement when it comes to making older homes more energy efficient, it is not yet widely understood by the public.

For readers still wondering what a U-value is, you are under 3 minutes away from a much better understanding. Could this be the first video on the subject of U-values to go viral? We believe so. Watch this space…


“We’ve been really pleased with people’s reactions to it, and it’s great to be recognized by SuperHomes. We hope that with their help we’ll be able to get the basic message of the video – the importance of insulating and lowering U-values – to a wider audience. We probably spent about six hours on the video in total so time was pretty tight. The advantage of this is that you have to go with your first impulse, rather than over-thinking things.”
Mike Fell, Student

“We liked the idea of challenging students to deliver a video on U-values. We thought this would be a fun, topical and valuable exercise for students. We asked them to approach the problem from different angles and to thinking about the needs of different audiences. There we some excellent submissions but, when it came to choosing a winner, the judges voted unanimously for When Alan met Sharon.”
Dr Cliff Elwell, UCL Energy Institute

“The winning team certainly know the way to a Marketing Manager’s heart. The video is technically excellent – beautifully constructed, scripted and conceived.”
Gordon Glass, Sustainable Energy Academy,

Ends | 16 Oct 2012