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£17m Government Investment in Retrofitting to Pave the Way for Low Carbon Housing


March 02, 2010, Press Dispensary. Eighty seven social housing projects across the UK are set to benefit from a share of £17 million of government funding to test low carbon building technology, Science Minister Lord Drayson and Housing Minister John Healey announced recently.

The programme, entitled ‘Retrofit for the Future’, is the first of its kind in the UK, and will see social housing units across the country retrofitted with new, innovative technologies.

Understanding and implementing best practice retrofitting is key to meeting the government’s CO2 reduction target of 80% by 2050.  The results of the projects will be shared to help show how the UK’s current housing stock could be made more energy efficient.  

In the initial design phase, over 190 organisations – including housing associations, architects and construction companies – received up to £20,000 each to carry out full feasibility studies and devise innovative proposals.  From these proposals, 87 have now been awarded proof of concept development contracts to carry out retrofits on current social houses.

The retrofit prototypes will each receive an average of £142,000 to demonstrate deep cuts in carbon emissions and exemplar energy efficient measures in UK social housing.  The level of funding is specifically designed to stimulate the implementation of innovative, proof of concept demonstrator houses that may offer cost effective solutions for wider role out across the UK.  Each demonstrator house will therefore be carefully evaluated by the Energy Saving Trust for at least 2 years and the potential for lower cost implementation in volume across the remaining UK social housing stock assessed.

More detail on the implementation of energy efficient measures for social housing UK wide will follow in the government’s Household Energy Management Strategy, which will soon be released.

Lord Drayson, Science Minister in Department for Business Innovation & Skills, said:
“Innovative businesses have a crucial role to play in the low-carbon economy.  This £17 million investment by Government will give companies the chance to grab a share of the significant potential retrofit market.”

Housing Minister, John Healey, said:
“New homes are 40 per cent more energy efficient now compared to 2002, but we must and can do more. Today’s announcement means that many of the homes owned by councils and housing associations – almost a quarter of the UK’s housing stock - will be made-over using innovative ideas from the competition. This will make them warmer, greener and cheaper to run. ”

Funding for the testbeds increased from an initial £10 million to £17 million through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skill’s Strategic Investment Fund (SIF).  The programme is delivered through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) that seeks to prepare small to medium UK companies for future procurement markets.

David Bott, Director of Innovation Programmes, Technology Strategy Board added:
“At least 60% of the houses we’ll be living in by 2050 have already been built.  So it is critical that we look at ways to dramatically improve the performance of our existing housing stock.  Retrofit for the Future provides the testbeds we need to ensure the development of long term, mass solutions.  This initiative has seen the retrofit market come together, with social landlords, local councils, architects and other specialist suppliers developing a range of high perfomance and cost effective prototype solutions.”

In London, following on from its award winning Retrofit and Replicate project in Mottingham, The Hyde Group will be retrofitting a further property in Eltham. The project will aim to reach the same 80% reduction in CO2 emissions achieved on the first project but this time at a property located within a conservation area, which will present a number of challenges in terms of installing certain items such as double glazing.

“We are delighted to have been selected by the Technology Strategy Board to develop this project and implement innovative home energy efficiency solutions that significantly reduce CO2 emissions and save money on fuel bills for our residents. Retrofitting within a conservation area presents many challenges, but we are confident that through working in partnership with the Planning Department at Greenwich Council we will overcome them,” said Peter Maddison, The Hyde Group’s Head of Projects.

Key retrofit features include:

 Substantial internal insulation upgrades, using innovative natural materials to help control moisture levels within the existing structure of the building.
 Heat recovery in high temperature areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, will achieve optimum energy efficiency through a mechanical ventilation unit that takes heat from these areas and uses it elsewhere in the house.
 Draughts and heat loss will be eliminated with an air-tightness strategy, where existing vents and chimneys will be blocked, floors and ceilings will be insulated, and walls will be coated with modified plaster.
 An intelligent heating system that constantly learns the resident’s living patterns and ensures that hot water and heating programmes match the occupant’s lifestyle.
 Pioneering vacuum glazing, suitable for conservation areas, will reduce heat loss without the need for thick, air filled double glazing.  

It is intended that the principles established by Retrofit for the Future prototypes can be applied throughout the country and that social housing will continue to take a lead role in terms of energy reduction and CO2 mitigation.

The Energy Saving Trust, a leading independent organisation set up to provide energy saving advice for the public, will work in partnership with each of the projects to collect data from each of the retrofitted houses, including internal and external temperature, humidity and CO2 levels.  This data will then be assimilated to form a database which will be made available to researchers, social landlords and energy companies to ensure that the most cost effective technologies are employed in future retrofits.

Fraser Winterbottom, Chief Operating Officer, Energy Saving Trust said: “The Retrofit for the Future project offers huge potential and will help us to make much more informed decisions.  We are monitoring the trials and will collate essential data that will enable us to create an open database for industries – a real asset for UK plc.  

“Our customers tell us that they want more tailored and in-depth advice on energy efficiency.  Householders want to know which technology is suitable for them and how they can gain the most benefit.”

- ends -

Notes for editors
Additional supportive quotations:

Zoe Leader, Sustainable Homes Policy Advisor WWF said: “Reducing carbon emissions from the UK's existing homes is crucial if we are to achieve the targets set in the Climate Change Act and WWF believes that projects such as the Retrofit for the Future are a key ingredient for enabling and inspiring people from all across the housing spectrum to step up to the plate. This programme will not only demonstrate the technical principles that can be applied to homes to reduce their emissions but will also show how people can live in much more energy efficient homes making them much more accessible to all”.

National Energy Action
Maria Wardrobe, Director of Communications, National Energy Action said: “NEA’s vision is to see a national retrofit of the nations housing stock and projects like this are an exciting step towards this aim. The use of innovative technologies together with adequate insulation is the only sustainable way to tackle the twin problems of fuel poverty and climate change and NEA is delighted to support this initiative.”

UK Green Building Council
Paul King, chief executive UK Green Building Council said: “We need to deliver a retrofit revolution across our entire housing stock, turning our leaky homes into comfortable places to live and cheaper places to run. The challenge is to learn from exciting research projects such as Retrofit for the Future, taking the innovations that are generated and translating them into cost-effective solutions that can be rolled out at scale. I welcome the TSB initiative and look forward to seeing the results.”

The Existing Homes Alliance
Paul Ruyssevelt, the Existing Homes Alliance said:  “The dearth of monitored examples of substantially improved homes has been a central concern of the Existing Homes Alliance since it was formed in 2008 to campaign for significant improvements to the energy performance of the existing housing stock.   The Alliance therefore warmly welcomes the announcement of the 87 projects in the Retrofit for the Future programme and eagerly awaits the reporting of the performance of the differing approaches being pursued.  This will be an important step on the road to major reductions in the carbon footprint of our existing housing stock.”

About Retrofit for the Future
Retrofit for the Future has been delivered in two phases. Phase 1, the feasibility and design phase, saw £3.5 million awarded to 180 organisations covering 193 separate projects, enabling them to work with suppliers to devise solutions to make cuts in carbon emissions produced by social housing.  Phase 2, the build phase, sees 87 projects awarded contracts to build ‘demonstrator’ houses in 2010 with £13.5 million funding, £7 million of which was supplied by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Strategic Investment Fund.

Listed below are the 87 projects have been offered the opportunity to take part in Retrofit for the Future:

London and South East
1. Selleck Nicholls Williams Retrofit, Crawley Homes
2. Crawley New Town Retrofit, Crawley Homes
3. Wimpey No-Fines Retrofit, Crawley Homes
4. Cornish Unity Retrofit, Crawley Homes
5. Solar House 80/50, Places for People
6. South Wight HA retrofit, ECD Architects
7. Southern Housing Group retrofit, ECD Architects
8. Whole house retrofit of a typical Victorian solid wall detached property in Brighton, Earthwise Construction Ltd
9. Eco-retrofit Orpington - a multiple house solution, Keniston Housing Association
10. Demonstration of low carbon refurbishment of off-gas homes, Drum Housing (part of Radian)
11. Prince Rupert Street - Retrofit & Replicate II: Progress, Hyde Housing Association
12. A Whole House Low Carbon Solution for Everyday Living, Gifford
13. One Planet Retrofit in Sutton, BioRegional
14. The Haringey PassivTerrace, Metropolitan Housing Trust Limited
15. Low Carbon Sheppey, BBP Regeneration Ltd
16. Wolfe Crescent - How low can we go?, London Borough of Greenwich
17. Brixton Passive with L&Q, Green Structures
18. Haringey Passive with L&Q, Green Structures
19. Brent Passive with L&Q, Green Structures
20. Off-grid, solid wall retrofit solution, CEN Services Ltd
21. Rankine Road, Tunbridge Wells, Town & Country Housing Group
22. Low carbon everyday details, Prewett Bizley Architects
23. City West Homes' retrofit, City West Homes Ltd
24. Ascham Homes, Maple Avenue, Breyer Group PLC
25. 1960s Terraced 2 bed property in NE London, Enfield Homes
26. Post Second World War suburban semi-detached house, PRP Architects Ltd
27. Retrofit - Apppledore, Kent, Housing Services, Ashford Borough Council
28. Thamesmead Retrofit House, Axis Europe Plc and Gallions Housing Association
29. Hounslow Council Passivhaus Retrofit, bere:architects
30. A2 Dominion, Bournemead Close, Breyer Group Plc
31. A2 Dominion, Pinner Road, Breyer Group Plc
32. The Oxford Whole House Carbon Reduction Project, Ridge and Partners LLP    
33. Decent Homes versus PassivHaus, Octavia Housing, greentomatoenergy, Paul Davis & Partners and Eight Associates
34. Clyde Road Terrace (Four Houses), Peabody
35. Solid wall Victorian house in urban Conservation Area, East Thames Group
36. WHISCERS - Whole House In-Situ Carbon and Energy Reduction Solution
37. Passfield Drive a naturally ventilated Passivhaus Retrofit, bere:architects
38. Thermal store retrofit pilot, Raven Housing Trust
39. Shaftesbury Park Terrace (One House), Peabody
40. Retrofitting to Passivhaus standards, A+G Architects (Oxford) Ltd
41. Sustainable refurbishment of a London Victorian street property, East Thames Group
42. Retrofitting a modern timber framed house, Home Group Ltd
43. Addressing Energy Consumption and Climate Change Adaptation in post-Decent Homes properties, East Thames Group
44. Eco-retrofit Ealing, EALING HOMES LTD
45. Value for Money Paired Property Eco-refurbishment, ECD Architects Ltd

North West
46. Riverside HA - Semi-Rural 2 Bed Semi-Detached House, Roland Hill Ltd
47. Eco-retrofit Brierfield, Housing Pendle Ltd
48. Improvement to 1930's Semi-Detached Properties - Whitehaven Property, Roland Hill Ltd
49. Eco-retrofit Colne, Housing Pendle
50. Passiv Haus Retrofit: refurb and regenerate, New Generation
51. Eco-retrofit Bolton, Plus Dane Group
52. Tackling low carbon retrofit of larger terrace housing in conservation areas, Constructive Thinking Studio Limited

North East
53. Walker Garden Suburb, Newcastle City Council
54. End Terrace Retrofit, Isos Housing Group
55. Gentoo Retrofit Bid 1, (Traditional Cavity Wall Construction), Gentoo Sunderland Ltd
56. Gentoo Retrofit Bid 2, Wimpey  No Fines Solid Wall Construction, Gentoo Sunderland Ltd
57. Gentoo Retrofit Bid 3, (Laing Easiform non traditional), Gentoo Sunderland Ltd

58. LHA Total Retrofit Solution, Leicester Housing Association Ltd
59. Achieving the standards for 2050, Nottingham Community Housing Association
60. Mayfair Place – A1 Housing, Connaught Partnership Limited
61. Project Cottesmore, East Midlands Housing Association
62. Retrofit for the future of sustainable social housing, Hockerton Housing Project Trading Limited
63. Rural Innovation for the Future (RIFF), Encraft Ltd
64. St. Luke's Street, Sanctuary Group
65. Bringing Wates homes into the Future, G F Tomlinson Group Limited
66. Inspiration Birmingham 2020, Balsall Heath Housing Co-operative

East of England
67. Hard to Heat Homes, SDC Builders Ltd
68. BISF Steel Frame House, Cambridge City Council
69. Flagship Retrofit, Carnego Systems Limited
70. Rural Solid Wall Terrace House , Victory Housing Trust
71. Gaymer Memorial Cottages, Hastoe Housing Association
72. Peterborough EnviroCluster Retrofit Project, UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development
73. Adelaide Waters Almshouses, Cambridge Housing Society

74. Rotherham 2010, Bramall Construction Limited
75. Wakefield and District Housing Retrofit, Bramall Construction Limited
76. Tackling Solid Walled, Yorkshire Housing

77. Retrofitting a post-Decent Home/Scottish Housing Quality Standard, Home in Scotland
78. New from Old, Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association

Northern Ireland
79. Eco-Energy Retrofit, Grove Housing Association, Belfast, Eco-Energy (NI) Ltd

80. Refurbishment of Social Housing Stock, Ecostruct
81. Solutions for a Holistic Optimal Retrofit (SHOR), Charter Housing Association
82. Self Heating Social Housing - the zero carbon retrofit, RCT Homes Ltd
83. Hemp Insulated House, Melin Homes & Willdig Lammie Partnership

South West
84. Barbrook PassivHaus Retrofit, Energy Action Devon
85. Stone Pit Lane, Sarsen Housing Association
86. HeatPod, Penwith Housing Association Ltd.
87. ReHabit, White Design Associates Limited

About SBRI
The project is being run through the Technology Strategy Board’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), a procurement scheme to encourage businesses of all sizes, but particularly SMEs, to engage with government departments and be prepared for future government procurement policy.

About the Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non departmental public body, established by the Government. Its mission is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve quality of life. It is sponsored by the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

About Energy Saving Trust
The Energy Saving Trust was selected to monitor all the projects in the trial. This will include evaluating building performance through the installation of sensors and remote data logging.

The Energy Saving Trust is the UK's leading organisation set up to try and prevent climate change by helping everybody to cut carbon dioxide emissions – the main greenhouse gas causing climate change – from their homes and transport. We promote the efficient use of energy and a low carbon lifestyle.

Through its network of advice centres, the organisation provides free and impartial advice to consumers on saving energy, domestic renewables and greener transport, and is beginning to include water saving and waste reduction advice in its remit. It also works with retailers, builders and industry to make sure that energy efficient products are available for people to choose.

 Call a local Energy Saving Trust advice centre on: 0800 512 012 or
 More about the Energy Saving Trust’s key achievements:
 For media information contact the Energy Saving Trust press office on 020 7227 0398

About ECD Architects
ECD Architects is a London based, award winning architectural company specialising in the design of high quality, low energy and low environmental impact buildings. Originally founded in 1980 to combine architectural practice with energy research and consultancy, our expertise in environmental and social architecture has culminated in over 100 successfully completed projects for Local Authorities, Housing Associations and Developers throughout the UK. For further information with regard to ECD please visit our website:

About The Hyde Group
The Hyde Group is a leading provider of affordable housing and makes a significant contribution to regenerating communities and improving people’s quality of life. It is one of the largest housing associations working in England, owning or managing over 43,000 homes in London, the South East, the East of England and the East Midlands.

About Mears
Mears Group is a leading social housing repairs and maintenance provider working in partnership with Local Authorities and Registered Social Housing Landlords and it has a growing presence in the domiciliary care market through its Careforce division, providing personal care to people in their own homes delivered through partnerships with Local Authorities. In addition, Mears subsidiary Haydon is a specialist, mechanical and engineering services business.

The Group employs more than 8000 people to maintain, repair and upgrade hundreds of thousands of homes nationwide and provides in excess of 90,000 hours of domiciliary care each week to over 13,500 people per year.

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Tel: 020 7025 7569 / 07947 922 100

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Tel: 020 7025 7569 / 07947 922 100

Technology Strategy Board low carbon retrofit social housing technology innovation regeneration



The Technology Strategy Board launches Retrofit for the Future, a programme designed to kick-start the low carbon housing market.

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Science Minister Lord Drayson

Science Minister Lord Drayson
Science Minister Lord Drayson
Science Minister Lord Drayson stands in front of a thermal imaging camera during his visit to one of the projects in Eltham, south east London for the launch of the Technology Strategy Board's 'Retrofit for the Future', a programme, the first of its kind in the UK, which will see social housing units across the country retrofitted with new, innovative technologies.
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Science Minister Lord Drayson

Science Minister Lord Drayson stands in front of a thermal imaging camera during his visit to one of the projects in Eltham, south east London for the launch of the Technology Strategy Board's 'Retrofit for the Future', a programme, the first of its kind in the UK, which will see social housing units across the country retrofitted with new, innovative technologies.

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