Retrofit for the Future

We are collaborating with Mark Elton at ECD Architects on the Retrofit for the Future project run by the Technology Strategy Board and are fitting the blinds in five properties in 2011. The blinds will be tested by the National Physics Lab in their hot-box test and the five homes will be monitored for performance by Wattbox for the Energy Saving Trust over a two year period.  Dr Steve Lo at Bath University is planning a paper with data from the tests.

NPL hot box

National Physics Lab hot-box equipment

The TSB Retrofit project includes for hot-box testing at the National Physics Lab which will give us empirical data to establish likely fuel savings and pay-back periods for the blinds. Steve Lo is working with us on a joint journal paper using these results. Initial test results can be seen here.

We identified the TSB funding as a possible opportunity to get the business started. In May 2009 we visited the virtual green expo organised by Sustainability Now and met Mark Elton at ECD’s booth & found they were in the process of identifying properties for the TSB retrofit competition with various RSL partners (registered social landlords such as Housing Associations).

The retrofit prototypes each received around £142,000 to demonstrate deep cuts in carbon emissions and exemplar energy efficient measures in UK social housing. The level of funding is specifically designed to stimulate the implementation of innovative, proof of concept demonstrator houses that may offer cost effective solutions for wider role out across the UK. Competition to participate was tough, with around 190 proposals submitted to the Technology Strategy Board after the Phase One feasibility studies. It is intended that the principles established by Retrofit for the Future prototypes can be applied throughout the country and that social housing will continue to take a lead role in terms of energy reduction and CO2 mitigation.

The Retrofit for the Future projects will also monitored for at least two years by the Energy Saving Trust with the results published by the Government-backed Technology Strategy Board in due course.

Mark Elton, Associate Director at ECD Architects says: “The targets set by the competition are very demanding, particularly so where the architectural appearance is sensitive. Our various retrofit packages aim to preserve each property’s heritage or architectural quality whilst greatly reducing space heating needs and meeting energy demands through greater efficiency and on-site generation.”

This is an exciting prospect for The Thermal Blind Company, getting involving in an innovative initiative of national importance and testing that the blinds work well under rigorous scrutiny.

Projects are;

Prince Rupert Street – Retrofit & Replicate II: Progress, Hyde Housing Association
City West Homes’ retrofit, City West Homes Ltd
1960s Terraced 2 bed property in NE London, Enfield Homes
Gaymer Memorial Cottages, Hastoe Housing Association
Adelaide Waters Almshouses, Cambridge Housing Society

The ‘Retrofit for the future’ Competition was launched by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) in March 2009 and has been delivered in two phases. Phase 2, the build phase, sees 86 projects awarded contracts to build ‘demonstrator’ houses in 2010 with £13.5 million funding, £7 million of which was supplied by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Strategic Investment Fund.

The Technology Strategy Board was established by the Government. Its mission is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve quality of life.