BASF and BRE celebrate opening of revolutionary refurbishment showhouse
BASF, the Building Research Establishment and other industry partners recently celebrated the launch of the Victorian Terrace Retrofit Project at the BRE site in Watford. The retrofit project is aimed at generating new knowledge of the most effective ways of upgrading existing solid wall private and public housing stock so that it is highly energy efficient, costs less to run, emits significantly less carbon and meets the requirements of the UKs ageing housing stock.
Insulation play a key role in improving energy efficiency and BASF were the main partner in this part of the project. BASF have for many years worked closely with the BRE on numerous research projects at Watford.
WALLTITE® PU spray foam insulation was just one of the products used within the Victorian Terrace and its application on the walls of the presentation room provided an airtight thermal efficient solution with a U-value of 0.24W/m²k.
The project has involved the transformation of Victorian stable block building (on the BRE site in Watford) with an Energy Performance Certificate rating of F, into a row of Victorian terraced houses that are A and B rated. The terraced houses have been retrofitted with a range of both conventional and innovative products which will be trialled and tested in the coming months to verify performance.
The project is launched at a crucial time for homeowners who are faced with escalating energy costs that show no sign of abating - if current fossil fuel based price trends continue, the average household energy bill could nudge £5,000 a year by 2020.The implications for the 4 million UK households currently suffering fuel poverty are huge.
As well as the focus on carbon reduction and energy efficiency the project also factors in the effects of climate change on homes and the requirements that future homes will have in supporting our ageing demographic (over 50% of us will be OAPs by 2050).
Major capital funding for the project came from DECC who said ‘Dramatically improving the energy performance of current housing is vital if the UK is to meet its carbon reduction target of 80% by 2050. The UK’s existing housing stock currently achieves an average EPC rating of D/E, with more than 5 million homes managing only F/G. To achieve the emission reduction targets, the average EPC rating for all housing will have to be brought up to a band B or better, a level currently achieved by only 1-2% of homes. The knowledge generated from this project will be used to step up our activities and take effective action.’
Chief Executive of BRE Dr Peter Bonfield commented ‘Major industry players have come together with BRE and Government on this project to tackle the huge challenge we face with existing stock - our single biggest carbon offender generating a massive 27% of total emissions. Collectively we will create an evidence base of knowledge and guidance that can be accessed by the construction industry and householders all stakeholders to deliver a step change in the roll out of sustainable housing refurbishment fit for future generations .’
The Victorian Terrace will undergo a programme of testing and monitoring to establish the impacts of this work, from which a series of refurbishment specifications will be developed. They will consist of a series of sequential improvements, each being considered in terms of its CO2 savings, best value carbon impacts and costs, so that the actual improvements made can be tailored to advise future decision makers and their individual budgets.In a
ddition, the Victorian Terrace project links to more than 350 exemplar refurbishment homes of varying types and ages around the country, test results from which will also feed in to the new specifications, monitoring protocols and best practice guidance. The results of the project will be widely disseminated through the National Refurbishment Centre in 2011 to increase awareness of the benefits of low carbon retrofit solutions, help develop the skills base needed for undertaking the work, and foster the development of a more coherent market for this work. Once launched the Victorian Terrace will be open to all to come and see and learn from it and apply the learning to their own projects and homes.