Innovative Energy Efficiency Project

SBS has started work on a major new energy efficiency scheme in Sneinton, Nottingham. Running for 40 weeks, this £3 million, multifaceted project involves a raft of installations, new build and refurbishment works across four residential blocks.

Known collectively as "The Courts" the 5-storey properties include Keswick, Byron, Morley and Haywood Court, and the works include a number of ground breaking innovations. One is the combination of new photovoltaic arrays and an on-site battery storage facility, which is designed to optimise local energy use. When complete, it will be one of the UK's largest ever battery storage projects on a residential site.

Another notable element of the project is the installation of a new low temperature district heating system. This utilises the low-temperature return from an existing district heating system nearby. Works will require a temporary road closure to take the feed under the carriageway and around a local church grounds before it can be utilised in The Courts. This will be one of more challenging aspects of the scheme, as access is very restricted and because the underlying geology features a number of historical caves/voids.

The scheme also requires new electrical mains supplies and an associated distribution network. SBS is taking responsibility for the construction of new district heating primary energy plant rooms, as well as one for each of the four blocks - for electricity supply and battery storage facilities.

The work was procured through the Efficiency East Midlands Solid Wall Insulation Framework. The project is part-financed by ReMo Urban, a European-funded urban regeneration model. SBS secured the contract in a competitive tender on the basis of price and quality submissions.

Solid wall insulation represents an important part of the whole scheme. In all, SBS will fit PermaRock external wall insulation to 94 flats and bedsits. Other works will include:

  • Underground and soil investigations and chemical analysis
  • Asbestos removal
  • Chimney and boiler demolition
  • Solar panel installations
  • Concrete remedial works
  • Remedial cavity wall tie installations
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Loft and floor insulation
  • Installation of new energy-efficient glazing and doors
  • New district heating systems
  • Re-roofing
  • Recoating deck access walkways
  • Balustrade works
  • Remodelling private balcony areas into a winter garden

A particular challenge will be speed of progress. The preliminary stages, including building a broad and effective supply chain network, are geared towards completing the first block in a very short time in order to satisfy the ReMo Urban project funding requirements. The SBS team began by undertaking a review of the project design and planning the delivery in a way that would be sensitive to the local environment and community. The apartment homes will remain occupied while the installations are in progress, and work is being scheduled so as to minimise noise and disruption to the tenants and leaseholders, as well as to activities in the neighbouring church and hall.

"This is a technically challenging scheme," notes SBS Project Director, Nigel Coxon. "It entails a wide range of building elements and activities, and it demands effective coordination and cooperation across a number of different trades. However, the works will deliver substantial energy savings for residents of the four properties and we'll be improving the fabric and appearance of the buildings themselves.

"The ReMo Urban programme is about demonstrating the value of various energy efficiency measures and refurbishment techniques. We're expecting The Courts to stand as an excellent example of how such measures can enhance 'difficult to treat' buildings, save energy, reduce fuel poverty and improve people's quality of life."

In addition to delivering physical improvements, SBS is also aiming to ensure that its work yields social and community benefits. Already, it has begun by recruiting a resident liaison officer from within the local community, and it intends to build a supply chain network that makes extensive use of local firms, materials and labour. The team will work from a new local site office and depot, and it will be recruiting locally for additional administrative support.

The scheme is expected to be completed in early 2019.

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