- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 27 Jul 2017
BRE and Willmott Dixon project to retrofit of a 1920s semi-detached house
On 6 April 2016, construction and property services company Willmott Dixon announced a research project with BRE (Building Research Establishment) and the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation to create a blueprint for improving the energy efficiency of older properties. Ref Project aims to help period properties save thousands in fuel costs.
The house was first assessed to determine its baseline energy performance, then performance specification options were developed in line with current government regulations and more ambitious carbon and energy reduction targets.
The works, which are a compromise between improving the property’s energy efficiency and preserving its character, will include; installing wood fibre internal wall insulation, new windows, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, waste water heat recovery and demand-controlled ventilation.
Its performance will then be monitored for 12 months to determine its energy use, internal conditions, the performance of its design features and the experience of its residents. A similar unmodified property will also be assessed to provide a comparison. It is hoped that the results will help develop a rationale for investment in the retrofit of other heritage and older properties.
BRE project manager Steven Stenlund said, “The aim of this project has been to plug the knowledge gaps on how best to make heritage homes like these more energy efficient without compromising on their unique character. The learning derived from the demonstrator home will benefit local homeowners and will have broader national applications as we continue to drive down the energy use and carbon emissions from existing homes.”
Willmott Dixon’s Rob Lambe said, “With over a quarter of the UK’s total carbon emissions coming from our homes and a fifth of households living in fuel poverty, it’s really important to ensure domestic properties are as energy efficient as possible. With a large number of older and heritage properties in the UK, there is a particular need to explore a range of options that will help people to keep warm and save energy while protecting the characteristics of these buildings.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Anatomy of low carbon retrofits: evidence from owner-occupied superhomes.
- Cavity wall insulation.
- Designing out unintended consequences when applying solid wall insulation FB 79.
- Ecobuild 2016 - Making the business case for large scale retrofit investment.
- Energy companies obligation ECO.
- Energy Performance Certificates.
- Fabric first.
- Fuel poverty
- Heat Energy: The Nation’s Forgotten Crisis.
- Housing contribution to regeneration.
- New energy retrofit concept: ‘renovation trains’ for mass housing.
- Renovation v refurbishment v retrofit.
- Retrofit coordinator.
- Retrofit, refurbishment and the growth of connected HVAC technology.
- Solid wall insulation.
- The cold man of europe 2015.
- The Each Home Counts report and traditional buildings.
- The real cost of poor housing.
- Wall insulation and moisture risk.
Featured articles and news
What it is and the threat it faces from development.
Six things structural engineers should do now.
Housing Forum calls for unity from the construction community.
An analysis of benefits, processes, best practices and more.
An interview with Ben Ridley, Director at Architecture for London.
Civil engineers can lead the way.
Cutting-edge tech pairs with building management systems.
BSRIA updates its assessment of the industry.
What happens when it all goes wrong?
Input being gathered by CIOB.
Changes proposed for MHCLG consultation on house building statistics.
Full of passion and acerbic wit. 1 min book review.
Reminding us what is possible.