In 2009, the government funded Technology Strategy Board (T.S.B.) implemented a £17m programme called Retrofit for the Future. The aim of the project was to kick-start retrofitting in the United Kingdom’s social housing stock. The sustainable building association, AECB were asked to develop performance targets for the project: Energy targets were based on an 80% reduction in CO₂ from an average 1990 baseline for a typical 80m² semi-detached house of 97 kg CO₂/m².yr.
The project tested a variety of different retrofit solutions in 119 homes as well as a range of products to establish research that could educate the construction industry on which solutions work for different building types, issues to consider, and how this can be rolled out to the rest of the existing housing stock. At present, the project houses are mostly completed and the Energy Saving Trust has been tasked with monitoring their performance over the next 24 months.
Paul Ruyssevelt who worked with TSB on the project, highlighted some early lessons:
- We're starting to learn things about junctions between wall and floor insulation. We've not had this package of measures before;
- The high levels of insulation typically mean thick walls, so novel materials like Aerogel are being used;
- Vacuum glazing was used for some projects, but some had issues with planners;
- Whole house mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MVHR) is complex and has significant space requirements, so typically can only be used in extensive refurbishments in decanted properties;
- 42 of the homes in the programme had both PV and Solar. Given the size of the homes, it is a challenge in roof area availability;
- Combined heat and power (CHP) produces a relatively small amount of electricity for heat, so you need heat/hot water demand and these properties are trying to reduce that demand, so it is not necessarily the best solution.
Would this research persuade you to refurbish your home?
Credits: Image and data linked to sources.