At the start of 2022 we finally got rid of the gas supply to our home, and retrofitted an air source heat pump. With the high proportion of renewables in grid electricity now, this has led to an absolutely huge cut in our household carbon emissions, and we are delighted with how it has performed so far.
This 150-odd-year old historic stone warehouse in the centre of Cirencester has been very carefully converted to create a youth hostel, providing much-needed budget accommodation in this pretty Cotswold town.
An external insulation contract in Preston, run under a government energy saving scheme five years ago went horribly wrong. Up to 390 homes were affected with water penetration, mould and damp.
Four years on the problems, some of them severe, have only been rectified for some of the affected households. Occupants, many elderly and on low incomes, have in some cases reportedly been forced to pay for repairs themselves. Continue reading “Preston Retrofit Disaster”
A sensitive development of social housing in Lambeth combines three new passive houses with six low energy flats carefully created inside an old Victorian terrace. With the emphasis on good indoor air quality, residents are already reporting improvements in health & well-being since moving from their old accommodation.
Post-war social housing blocks are often seen as both ugly and uncomfortable. They frequently suffer from high energy bills, damp and mould. But three ambitious renovation projects show the answer doesn’t always lie in demolition. Oct 2015
Sensitive passive retrofit transforms Victorian North London home
Upgrading a historic home to the passive house standard typically means leaving the façade untouched to preserve the building’s historic appearance, but the team behind this fully passive retrofit in Kensal Green took a totally different approach. Oct 2016
Working with design consultancy URBED, Manchester-based community energy group Carbon Co-op has pioneered a way of supporting ‘able-to-pay’ homeowners to invest in making their homes warmer and more comfortable – while reducing their energy use by around half.
By upgrading the fabric of homes and adding PV panels, cuts of 40-60% or more were made in energy consumption and emissions and £1,000/year was knocked off bills, at a level of capital spending that homeowners were willing and able to invest. Continue reading “Community deep retrofit”
A well-designed and well-executed retrofit will not only save energy, it should offer a more comfortable, healthier indoor environment, and protect the building fabric as well. However, there have been a number of warnings about what might go wrong – sometimes, even suggestions that in some instances retrofit measures should not be undertaken at all.
Are these warnings justified? What might go wrong? What is the evidence in practice? In this article, first published in Green Building in 2015, I look at some of the concerns, examine the reasons behind them, and suggest ways to protect building and occupants so retrofit really delivers.