bere:architects are pleased to be undertaking two retrofits as part of the TSBs Retrofit for the Future program. To follow these blogs click on the links at the bottom of this post.

In west London, bere:architects have designed a retrofit for a Hounslow Homes building which is occupied by Mr and Mrs O’Donnell who have lived in their 1960s semi-detached property for 30 years. Both Mr and Mrs O’Donnell have chronic illnesses for which they are undergoing treatment. The O’Donnells are happy living where they are but complain of the high electricity and heating bills especially in winter when they find the property is hard to heat.

In east London, bere:architects have designed the retrofit for a Southern Housing home occupied by the Mohammeds, a seven strong family living in a three storey, 1950s, terraced house in Tower Hamlets, which they also complain is hard to heat, especially downstairs which is always cold in winter. Both properties have an abnormally high energy demand as assessed using the Passivhaus Planning Package (PHPP) energy modelling software.

The improvements will include: 250mm of high performance EPS external insulation; installation of Passivhaus standard, triple glazed windows and doors throughout; solar thermal water heating; and heat recovery units which will enable the properties to achieve high levels of ventilation whilst remaining draught free. The building work is underway on one project and the other will be commencing soon. The households are looking forward to warmer houses next winter with lower energy bills and fewer draughts, as well as cheaper water heating bills all year around.

Projects like these represent an extremely important step towards a low carbon future and reducing the rate of climate change. The government target is to cut our carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. In the housing sector the only way we can achieve this is by working to reduce the emissions of our existing housing stock.

These retrofit projects will be built to an Enerphit standard. Enerphit is a new Passivhaus standard aimed specifically at retrofits. Enerphit recoginses the difficulty of achieving a full Passivhaus standard in existing buildings without excessive cost or intrusion to the existing building. Enerphit is a good low energy standard which addresses the importance of retrofits in achieving our necessary carbon reductions.

The analysis of these projects will not simply include an assessment of the bills and emissions of the buildings before and after the retrofit, but will also take into account airtightness readings (to reduce cold draughts and save on heat losses), comparisons of external and internal temperatures and meter readings from CO2 sensors. As part of Retrofit for the Future, the analysis will continue over a two year period.

Please visit bere:architects’ blog hosted by to keep up to date with these projects:


Grove Rd; one of the projects to be retrofitted under the Retrofit for the Future programme