Cavity filling

Where there are cavity walls injecting insulation through holes drilled at regular intervals is a common practice. However, caution should be exercised regarding the kind of insulation selected and the bona fides of the installation contractor. Post-completion inspections have discovered a number of cases of fraud where only a notional amount of insulation has been injected. Properly installed cavity filled insulation can have a significant impact on the thermal performance. In the Penwith 1960s properties, following cavity filling and extra roof insulation the BEPI was 107 with a SAP of 49. Where central heating was installed the SAP rose to 78 again illustrating why the BEPI is a more useful guide to the long-term energy efficiency of a house since it focuses on the fabric.

Some of the least energy efficient dwellings exist in multi-storey buildings, the most notorious being tower blocks. The team responsible for the innovative Integer House has been commissioned by Westminster Council to raise the energy efficiency of one of its 20 storey tower blocks as a demonstration of best practice in renovation. This will be one to watch. (For further information refer to Smith, P.F. (2004) Eco-Refurbishment: A Guide to Saving and Producing Energy in the Home, Architectural Press.)

The Roundwood Estate in Brent is typical of many former council developments with its numerous four storey flats and maisonettes linked by balcony access. The 564 dwellings have been transferred to the Fortunegate Housing Association. They have solid one and a half brick solid external walls and minimal insulation in the roofs. After consultation with the tenants PRP Architects agreed a specification including overcladding external walls with an insulated render system, increased roof insulation, full central heating with combination boilers, and new kitchens and bathrooms with extractor fans. Existing double glazing was considered adequate. The result is that on average each flat will save 1.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year with a reduced fuel bill of £150 per year. At the same time comfort levels have substantially improved.

This is the kind of unromantic but challenging work which will have to be undertaken nationwide if the consequences of fuel poverty are to

Figure 10.3

Roundwood Estate Housing Association flats, existing and refurbished

Council Flat Balcony

be overcome. An example of a considerable quantity of former council stock is the balcony access flats in the Roundwood estate. Refurbishment and overcladding is under way on this estate (Figure 10.3).

As a postscript to this chapter it should be noted that existing homes that are substantially refurbished are likely to need to comply with Part L of the Buildings Regulations. As mentioned earlier, Part L is being revised and this will have the aim of achieving a 25 per cent improvement in energy efficiency. At the same time, the sole criterion for compliance will be based on carbon emissions which will close the loophole of the trade-offs, so much abused in the past. Another change is that houses will be subject to air tightness standards and will have to submit to pressure testing.

From January 2007 it is likely that houses for sale will require a Home Condition Report. This will include an Energy Survey. For new homes there are currently discussions about enhancing the energy efficiency scale to take account of zero carbon homes.

Getting Started With Solar

Getting Started With Solar

Do we really want the one thing that gives us its resources unconditionally to suffer even more than it is suffering now? Nature, is a part of our being from the earliest human days. We respect Nature and it gives us its bounty, but in the recent past greedy money hungry corporations have made us all so destructive, so wasteful.

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