Brent 1 Low Energy Exemplar Retrofit
This energy-saving refurbishment has provided our client with the opportunity to achieve massive energy savings and comfort improvements. In 2011 we won a landmark planning appeal (see attached decision letter) to overcome a number of challenges from the design and conservation officer in Brent who tried to stop us gaining planning approval for our proposed energy-saving external insulation. At point of writing, we currently maintain a 100% success rate in 17 years of planning applications, except within the current regime of the London Borough of Brent.
At appeal we won permission to apply 100mm of external insulation to the side and rear of the house as part of a whole house energy-saving strategy which has reduced the energy required for heating the house by 88%. In carbon terms this represents in excess of 22 tons of carbon emission savings per year or a 76% reduction when comparing the property’s carbon emissions before and after the retrofit. The front elevation is internally insulated, which is less effective and more costly than external insulation, but along with the roof and ground floor insulation, essential for the holistic, passivhaus-informed approach to this refurbishment.
The house is also now virtually draught-free - a huge bonus in winter. Even the front door is entirely double-sealed including the threshold; it's insulated and has advanced mult-point locking. The traditional sash windows have been fitted with security glass and good seals. Every detail, seen or unseen has been done to perfection, so the house not only looks good, but performs perfectly. Evidence of this quality of workmanship is in the pressure air-test; the result is over 5 times better than building regulations for a new building.
Our client will now enjoy winters completely free of cold draughts. When the windows are closed in winter, a super-efficient heat recovery ventilation system will keep fresh air flowing, without wasting heat.
Carbon emissions are the main cause of climate change (CLG, 2007), and have increased globally by 350% since 1960 (The World Bank CO2 emissions, no date). A main source of carbon emissions is from housing, which was expected to account for 13% of all UK emissions in 2010 (CLG, 2008). Reducing this is a national priority, and the UK Government has now pledged that all new homes in the UK will be zero carbon by 2016 (CLG, 2006a) and stated that in seeking to reduce emissions the focus has to also be on increasing the energy efficiency of our existing housing stock which, will make the most impact and therefore should be prioritised (DECC, 2011).
Existing buildings are expected to form the majority of the UK’s building stock for many years to come since approximately three-quarters of houses in 2050 are likely to have been built before 2010. Therefore, it is vital to focus on the energy efficiency of the existing stock as well as new buildings if we are to achieve the government’s challenging emission reduction targets.
The landmark planning appeal was won in June 2011, demonstrating our unwavering commitment and skill in arguing for change and our success rate in gaining planning permission.
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