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REFURBISHMENT CASE STUDY SOCIAL HOUSING


TRICKS BOX OF


The transformation of a hard-to-treat 1960s property into a low carbon home involved the use of some unusual technology, writes Mark Dowson


T


A key innovation of the project is a highly-insulated solar-air collector prototype integrated into the external insulation on the south façade


he Thamesmead housing estate in south-east London is a key example of the often poorly insulated and undervalued concrete dwellings


built in the 1960s. It was featured in the Stanley Kubrick film, A Clockwork Orange, and more recently on television in E4’s Misfits. But its other claim to fame is that it is now part of ‘Retrofit for the Future’, a government-funded competition launched by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) in 2009. The aim of the competition was to develop innovative, scalable, whole-house refurbishment strategies with potential to reduce 80% of CO2 emissions in low-rise social housing. Following two intense design phases, 86 teams across the UK were shortlisted and awarded £150,000 to implement their strategies with occupied dwellings. The selected properties are now being monitored over a two-year period after refurbishment, with the findings feeding into research papers and nationwide design guidance. As a shortlisted team, Buro Happold


36 CIBSE Journal June 2012


collaborated with Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects, Gallions Housing Association, Martin Arnold Associates surveyors and Axis Europe contractors to super-insulate a pre-cast concrete end-of-terrace house on the Thamesmead estate. Like millions of buildings across the


UK, the estate consists largely of properties with solid walls, single glazing and uninsulated floors/roofs responsible for a significant amount of wasted heat. In its unrefurbished state, the hard-to-treat property suffered from moisture-related problems such as condensation, rising damp and mould growth, made worse by insufficient heating and high rates of fuel poverty. It possessed a mixture of single- glazed and old double-glazed windows, unused ground-floor garages (too narrow for modern cars) and a first-floor walkway.


Transformation Through extensive retrofit works, the property has been transformed into a ‘near Passivhaus’ six-bedroom house, super-insulated with external cladding,


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