Client: Regenda Group
Approx. Value: Small (single property)
Sustainable Building Services (UK) was appointed by the housing and regeneration specialist, Regenda Group to take part in a demonstration project that would assess the effects, savings and usability of modern sustainable building technologies.
The project took as its test subject an existing three-bedroomed, semi-detached property in Limehurst Village, Oldham. The house would be fitted with a range of energy saving measures, and systems would be put in place to measure their effects. A local family would then be invited to live in it in order to evaluate how these systems performed in real-life conditions. The project team was particularly interested in learning about changing patterns of energy demand and whether residents would change their behaviours if they could monitor their energy use in real time. In a further effort to promote wider energy awareness, the residents would be asked to provide regular feedback via social media reports.
The first phase entailed working with Regenda to carry out pre-refurbishment energy assessments in the form of air permeability tests and a thermal imaging survey. The resulting data would provide a basis for subsequent comparisons when the work was complete. The Sustainable team then began the installation of loft and internal wall insulation, a heat recovery system and a new, energy efficient central heating system. Additional measures included fitting solar photovoltaic panels on the roof, a voltage optimisation system and water saving appliances in the kitchen and bathroom.
General refurbishment work included a full bathroom and kitchen replacement - including new fixtures, flooring and tiling - and plastering and painting the internal walls after the installation of the thermal insulation. Outside, paving and other hard landscaping work was completed prior to fitting a rainwater collection system and planting a new, wildlife-friendly eco-garden.
The project was completed on time despite periods of very poor weather and post-refurbishment energy tests suggested that the modifications should yield substantial efficiency savings on both energy and water. Having interviewed a host of applicants, Regenda selected a family to live in the newly upgraded property. The results of the project were reported through a specially established Eco-House blog, which featured reports written by the home's resident garden gnome 'Reg'. It also featured additional contributions from the occupants themselves, who agreed to report their findings throughout the year.