In February 2018, building contractor Sustainable Building Services (UK) Limited will start work on a new £2m energy efficiency scheme in Lancashire.
Commissioned by DREEAM — a European funded demonstration project — the work will seek to prove that larger scale refurbishments deliver greater and more cost-effective energy savings than schemes involving single properties alone. The DREEAM project will target 75% energy reductions in the treated properties, driving ultimately towards an ‘nZEB’ (nearly Zero Energy Building) standard. It will be piloted in three sites across Europe: in Lancashire, in Landskrona in Sweden, and in Treviso, Italy.
The Lancashire properties are managed by Places for People (PfP). They include a total of 108 units, comprising 36 flats and 72 houses, all with solid walls. PfP selected the site because it offered significant potential for energy performance improvements. Proposed works include the fitting of external wall insulation, new energy-efficient storage heaters, hot water cylinders, mixer showers and photovoltaic panels on the roofs. The brief was intended to encourage a whole-house approach to the works.
As a demonstration project, DREEAM aims to deliver accurate data about the effects of the different efficiency measures. Accordingly, its researchers plan to monitor energy performance before, during and after the works. They began in the summer of 2017 by conducting a battery of tests at a void property in Padiham. Here, they examined wall U-values, heat loss coefficient and air tightness. Built in the 1930s, the terraced house exhibited reasonable air tightness, but heat retention figures fell far below modern construction requirements. In order to achieve the targeted improvements, SBS has been carrying out intensive design work in conjunction with Places for People (PfP) and the insulation system designer PermaRock Products Ltd. The plans and detailing are designed to produce a significant improvement in U-values, while also meeting the clients’ aesthetic requirements.
In an effort to encourage resident feedback, representatives of SBS, PermaRock and PfP exhibited at a customer consultation day in December. Held at a local nursery, the event drew more than 25 residents, who were able to view visualisations and product samples, ask questions and express their thoughts on the proposals as a whole. This feedback informed the final designs, and formal planning consent is expected later this month.
The great majority of the occupants will be social housing tenants but three of the houses are owner-occupied. In an effort to improve the desirability of the whole estate, and to ensure that the scheme delivers maximum benefit, homeowners will be offered the chance to have the solid wall insulation fitted while works are in progress. The presence of staff and materials will yield important economies of scale and therefore minimise the cost. Work on the 108 Lancashire properties is expected to last eight months.
Pictured above is a visualisation of the completed walls.