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Last edited 22 Oct 2015
With energy-inefficient housing and fuel poverty both high on the Scottish political agenda and both linked to poor physical and mental health, the innovative App has been designed to allow housing associations, social landlords and housebuilders to calculate the benefits of refurbishing their existing properties, how much the work will cost, and what savings can be made in terms of maintenance and running costs.
The App has been subject to months of monitoring at the ‘Refurbished House’ on the BRE Innovation Park in Ravenscraig which has been delivered by BRE Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University and Historic Scotland, and constructed by Cruden Buildings and Renewals. The house is a recreation of the ‘four in a block’ model; of which there are 250,000 in Scotland and 3 million in England. By incorporating the most up-to-date data and presenting technical information in a user-friendly way, it is hoped the App will enable users to make optimum improvements to properties with minimum disruption.
At the launch of the App, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said, “Ultimately this should encourage the creation of more energy efficient homes and benefit tenants living in the properties, for example by reducing their fuel and energy costs, improving the quality of their home and having a positive effect on their health and well-being. The Scottish Government supports innovation across the construction sector, ensuring the best environment for businesses and academia to interact, taking forward innovative ambitious projects of excellence that have the potential to bring millions more to the economy.”
Dr David Kelly, Group Director BRE Innovation Park Network said, “At BRE, we combine science and technology with innovation and entrepreneurship to develop and share solutions for existing and future buildings not only in Scotland but across the UK, Europe and around the world. This project is a prime example of BRE’s overriding objective to generate new knowledge through research and we are delighted that, following prolonged testing and monitoring at the Refurbished House, a range of innovative retrofit solutions for some of the country’s most energy inefficient homes have been identified.”
Allan Callaghan, Managing Director of Cruden Building and Renewals added, “Cruden has invested heavily in this project, and we are now working with a like-minded client with difficult-to-improve housing stock challenges who would work with us on a pilot project. We are in advanced discussions with a large housing association to take this forward. We expect the app to be a success because the solutions it offers are both practically and commercially realistic. We’re also looking at developing the App for use on different types of homes such as flats, terraced, semi-detached and detached properties.”
The BRE RetrofitLab App is now available for free download on Apple iPads (search for RetrofitLab).
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