A grant of over £1.35m has been awarded by the BEIS Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator programme to Warwick District Council for a project which will see 50 Council homes with low energy ratings undergo whole house energy retrofits and benefiting from permanently reduced fuel bills, better air quality and improved energy efficiency ratings thanks to a successful government funding bid.
Sarah Wigglesworth Architects (SWA) is leading the multidisciplinary team. The pilot project is being undertaken with Enhabit, long-time SWA partners, in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University and the housing team at Warwick District Council. Improvements will be made to the thermal comfort and energy efficiency of existing semi-detached houses and bungalows across Lillington, Leamington Spa and Warwick, reducing lifetime carbon running costs and preventing the release of embodied carbon in the existing buildings.
Sarah Wigglesworth commented:
“The project is a critical step for tackling fuel poverty in social housing; we have developed innovative methods for selecting properties with local and national relevance, providing solutions for a cross-section of lifestyles and income levels. If successful, the project can be extended to both social and private housing demonstrating the value of design-led decarbonisation.”
The homes selected will have the money and energy saving alterations made for free. Plans include wrapping the external envelope of the building in insulation and new external cladding, installing triple glazed windows, under floor and loft insulation, and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery to reduce the risk of damp and mould, providing fresh filtered air.
This is one of the first projects to undertake PAS 2035 compliant retrofit at scale; it is a technically and socially ambitious project, proving that advanced decarbonisation can be achieved alongside great design to bring meaningful value and comfort to UK homes.
Once the retrofitting work is completed, each home will be measured for its thermal performance with energy use and indoor environmental conditions carefully monitored. The householders will then be advised on how to manage their energy use with the new measures in place. Rajat Gupta, Professor of Sustainable Architecture and Climate Change at Oxford Brookes University, is leading the building performance evaluation of the scheme.
Enhabit is delivering Retrofit Coordination to PAS 2035 on the project, which involves lodging all retrofit assessment, design and construction information with the Government Endorsed Quality Scheme, Trustmark. It also involves overseeing the process to protect the interests of the client and the public, and to avoid unintended consequences. Enhabit will also be undertaking the low energy modelling of the retrofits on the scheme, using both SAP and Passivhaus Planning Package software to produce the improvement options evaluation. Additional building physics input – from WUFI calculations to thermal bridge Psi-value modelling – will also be within Enhabit’s remit.
The Warwick District Council SHDF project is an innovation demonstrator and Enhabit is also working with LETI, AECB, GHA and BSI on the process innovation required as part of the Government Funding. Enhabit will be facilitating, through GHA, the creation of a new overheating toolkit specifically for retrofit. Enhabit will also be evaluating the new AECB retrofit standard and feeding into the new BSI Retrofit Assessment standard that is currently in development.
Dr Sarah Price, Associate Director of Building Physics at Enhabit, commented:
“Enhabit is really excited to be part of this innovative retrofit project, which will help to develop strategies for reducing costs and improving efficiencies across the Warwick District housing stock and beyond. We are looking forward to developing the retrofit processes alongside our partners Warwick District Council, Oxford Brookes University and Sarah Wigglesworth Architects.”