Plus Dane pilots PassivHaus retrofit

Liverpool-based housing association Plus Dane Group has secured funding from government to trial innovations in eco-refurbishment of Victorian properties.

Using £107,000 from the Technology Strategy Board, a Victorian end-terrace property in Liverpool will be used to demonstrate how innovative technologies can make existing homes more energy-efficient and produce deep cuts in carbon emissions.

The project will use the following features in the property:

  • Super-insulation panels
  • Triple-glazing throughout to achieve the highest level of heat retention
  • Construction of a new conservatory to the rear of the property where air will be pre-heated by the sun and transferred into the house through mechanical ventilation
  • Solar panels to generate energy for water heating
  • Low-energy LED lighting throughout
  • A-rated energy efficient cooker and appliances fitted
  • Smart Meter technology to monitor energy consumption – giving more control and choice to the customer.

Plus Dane Group's project is the only scheme in Merseyside to receive the funding, and one of only seven exemplar projects in the North West. Plus Dane Group will convert the property in Wavertree, Liverpool to meet the highest possible energy efficient standards, known as PassivHaus.

The property is now being converted from two existing flats into one three-bedroom family home. Plus Dane Group is identifying a family to be actively involved in the project and move in once the eco-refurbishment is completed.

Martin Gladwin, head of asset management at Plus Dane Group, told us: "The homes we live in make a significant contribution to the UK's carbon emissions, so we are delighted to be delivering an innovative solution that will demonstrate to our local and wider communities that we can make a positive contribution to climate change, reduce fuel bills and increase people's comfort in their own home."

Each Retrofit for the Future exemplar project will be carefully evaluated for two years by the Energy Saving Trust. Results will be shared to show how the UK's current housing stock could be made more energy efficient and help to meet the government's target to cut CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050.

More than one quarter of the UK's carbon emissions come from housing, with social housing comprising almost 20% of UK homes.

David Bott, director of innovation programmes at the Technology Strategy Board, said: "At least 60% of the houses we'll be living in by 2050 have already been built. So it is critical that we look at ways to dramatically improve the performance of our existing housing stock. Retrofit for the Future provides the test-beds we need to ensure the development of long-term, mass solutions."

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This sounds a great project and it is really good that the Passivhaus standard is being applied to retrofit as well as newbuild. Green Building Store has just completed the Denby Dale Passivhaus project in West Yorkshire, which is the first Passivhaus in the UK to use traditional British cavity wall construction. We are offering a free 40 page technical briefing on the project for building professionals who register at:

By Green Building Store

Using Passive House components in retrofit opens a very high energy conservation potential. And it has three more advantages: 1) better thermal comfort 2) healthier indoor air 3) better protection of the building against structural damage. Europe is leading here!

By Wolfgang Feist

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