Encraft Ltd

Retrofit for the future project - funded by the technology strategy board

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Courtesy of Encraft Ltd

A terraced house in Birmingham was refurbished with a target to cut heating bills by at least £1,000 a year and CO2 by 80%. The project aimed to address specific barriers to large scale low carbon housing retrofit. Measures to improve the energy efficiency of the house were carried out such as the application of exterior wall cladding and the installation of solar PV. Encraft will monitor the buildings performance over the next two years to ensure it delivers the savings promised.

The aim of this project was to demonstrate a whole house approach to deliver an 80% cut in CO2 emissions for a typical Victorian terraced property found in many parts of Birmingham.

The project sought to address specific barriers to large scale low carbon housing retrofit. We deliberately chose an extremely hard to treat property, with a mix of historic solid walled fabric and more recent (but typical) un-insulated extensions and modifications; extremely limited space for onsite renewables, and occupied.

The project tackled the training and skills challenge head on, working with local contractors willing to undergo training.  We addressed this challenge by focusing on technologies which are largely established so there is maximum potential for economies of scale in replication and scale up and minimum maintenance costs.

We were able to obtain from the tenant several years’ worth of gas and electricity bills. By analysing this data we were able to estimate what the pre-retrofit energy usage and costs were.

Exterior cladding was applied to the rear of the building but within the house itself dry lining was used to increase its thermal properties and to allow the aesthetics of the front of the house to be maintained.

The house has received new, highly efficient doors and triple-glazed windows, along with a new boiler and energy-efficient domestic appliances. A solar panel on the roof provides additional hot water, while a Wattbox tracks the patterns of the occupants’ daily lives and makes the most efficient use of the heating system.

As a key component of the project, Encraft will monitor its performance over the next two years to ensure it delivers the savings promised.

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