Retrofit for the Future Pilot Project - Wolvercote Road, London, United Kingdom
Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects

Wolvercote Road is a pioneering, wholehouse refurbishment that combines existing low carbon technologies with new products to form a superinsulated building envelope that is modern, stylish and architecturally exciting whilst being sympathetic to the local area. Though recognised as the most ambitious social housing development in post-war London, the Thamesmead housing estate is an infamous example of the often poorly insulated and undervalued concrete dwellings built in the 1960s.

The end-of-terrace four bedroom family home owned by Gallions Housing Association had a poorly performing thermal envelope and was vulnerable to moisture-related problems. The refurbishment project, completed in March 2012, was part funded by the government’s ‘Retrofit for the Future’ initiative to test and monitor the effectiveness of new, innovative products and construction techniques in improving energy efficiency in social housing. The project ultimately aims to maximise the life-cycles of housing estates providing sustainable future homes.

Collaboration, communication and a mutual appreciation of the requirements between team members, contractors and sub-contractors was vital in working to passivhaus specifications and achieving an 87% reduction in CO2. Along with an increased asset value, post-retrofit occupants have reported a reduced annual gas bill from £775 to negligible as well as vastly improved comfort with an average annual internal temperature of 20.4°C.

A unique element of innovation that was key to the success of the project was the development and implementation of the first ever solar-air collector containing aerogel insulation. The performance of this has been validated through modelling, monitoring and its publication in a peer reviewed scientific paper. With 6.5 million solid-walled properties in the UK and 2,200 identical precast concrete properties on the Thamesmead estate, the project gave us the potential to develop a much clearer understanding of how to realise an energy efficient refurbishment of this type of property in the future.

No Comments

Terms & Conditions   |   Privacy policy   |   Cookie Policy