With the latest edition of the annual RIBA Research Symposium coming up in just a few weeks’ time, we’re taking the opportunity to focus on some interesting domestic retrofit projects. The Symposium “Home Truths” on Thursday 4 October will look at issues of sustainability, conservation and design quality in relation to the refurbishment of existing housing stock. Tickets are £96 for RIBA members, £120 for non-members, and £30 for students – visit the webpage for more information and to book, or call 020 7307 3714.

First results are in from the IFORE retrofit project that is being supported by the European Regional Development Fund’s Interreg programme and led by the University of Brighton.  IFORE now has pre-retrofit monitoring information which will form a benchmark against which to judge the carbon savings resulting from the building works that are currently underway.

100 houses are being retrofitted, in both England and France.  The sample is sufficiently large for evaluation of a range of results and the energy savings being made as a result of ongoing community engagement programmes in both countries.  The houses are being intensively monitored before and after the works to measure the technical benefits and to assess the contribution made by tenants.  Evaluation of the results is being carried out by the academic partners, the Department of Architecture at Brighton, and the Laboratory of Civil Engineering and Geo-Environment at Université d’Artois.

Interreg projects entail the exchange of experience and expertise across borders.  The UK housing association partner AmicusHorizon has gained capability in community engagement over a number of years, and in France, Pas-de-Calais Habitat’s innovative approach to technology is bringing advanced ventilation and passive solar components for testing at both sites.  Occupant behaviour is such a large determinant of success that Green Doctors are working within both communities.

IFORE is a uniquely large-scale retrofit, allowing the relative performance of a variety of occupancies to be compared.  It is a vanguard project for the large-scale retrofits to follow once the Green Deal is underway.

With thanks to Mike McEvoy, University of Brighton for highlighting this project.

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1 Comment
  1. Residential architect

    October 20, 2012

    Home design and retrofit – I think that the post-occupancy monitoring will be the most interesting aspect of this. The technical design and energy savings are predictable on paper, however the behaviour of the occupants contributes a lot to the actual energy savings both in residential and commercial projects. The scale of the research project should produce some interesting results I hope.

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