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Social housing Retrofits
Fit for the future
Schemes for improving established social dwellings show
what can be achieved to cut carbon emissions from Britain’s
existing housing stock, writes Carina Bailey
I
n a typical residential street in an ordinary English government’s Low Carbon Buildings Programme.
town, something extraordinary has happened: six The retrofitting programme involved using a mixture
1950s homes in the social housing sector have had of different energy saving techniques and renewable
their energy consumption slashed by between a technologies. According to Ciniglio: “It’s critical that
half and four-fifths. The feat was achieved by an we always get the basic measures, the energy efficiency
umbrella organisation for registered social landlords, measures, right before we start considering the more
the Building Research Housing Group (BRHG), in costly, renewable energy measures.”
partnership with the Energy Saving Trust. The energy efficiency measures included filling
Work on the project began in Kingsley, Hampshire, in cavity walls, fitting lofts with new insulation and
almost two years ago. At that time, the partnership had switching to low-energy compact fluorescent lamps
ambitions to achieve the Generation Homes standard (CFLs). Air pressure tests were also conducted before
– an initiative funded by the trust that aims to establish and after the refurbishments, which led to some
a systematic approach to reducing carbon emissions draught proofing being carried out to the fabric of the
from existing homes by more than 60 per cent. properties, a mixture of bungalows and houses. A heat
However, SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) recovery ventilation system was also installed.
software modelled an average cut of 75 per cent in CO2 The addition of a waste water heat recovery system, a >
emissions for the six properties. And later monitoring
of the homes has shown that emissions have been
reduced by between 49 and 83 per cent across the
homes.
It’s critical that we always get
Paul Ciniglio, a BRHG member and sustainability the basic measures, the energy
innovation manager at social housing group Radian,
efficiency measures, right before we
Legislation
which owns the homes, says the properties cost about
Retrofitting is
£23,000 each on average to transform. The project
start considering the more costly,
key to meeting
was part-funded through grants from the trust and the renewable energy measures.
UK target
The Climate Change
Act, passed in 2008,
committed the
government to an
80 per cent cut in carbon
emissions by 2050
There are about 26m
homes in the UK and it
is estimated that
27 per cent of the UK’s
total carbon emissions
emanate from buildings
Around 85 per cent of
homes standing today
will still be in existence
in 2050, and in order to
meet the government’s
target of retrofitting
7m homes by 2020 –
an ambition cited in
the Heat and Energy
Saving Strategy earlier
this year – more than
500,000 whole-house
Social housing properties in
refurbishments will need
Petersfield, Hampshire, run by
to be carried out each
a Radian housing association,
year
have been improved
38 CIBSE Journal September 2009 www.cibsejournal.com
CIBSEsep09 pp38,40_social_retro.indd 38 21/8/09 10:34:04
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