North East & Yorkshire Housing News Publication

  • 6-29-2010


An innovative method of refurbishing terraced houses which will save people on low incomes thousands of pounds in energy bills has won Isos funding to fit out a 'pilot' house in North Tyneside.

Isos has been chosen to run one of 87 pilots, out of 600 applicants, across the UK in the £16m Retrofit for the Future scheme.

An Isos Retrofit house

The Government's Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is funding Isos to completely refit the end terrace house with energy efficient technology, to become a model of good practice. The most effective measures could then become part of a wider programme for social housing across the UK.

Measures being introduced to the house in the 'Triangle' area of North Shields include increasing insulation in walls, floors and roof using Vacuum Insulation Panels to retain heat in the house, using highly efficient kitchen appliances which use minimal amounts of electricity, and heating of the house through renewable energy sources. A ventilation system that keeps excellent air quality and recovers heat from the air in the house before it is expelled to atmosphere will also be installed.

Monitoring of the use of the technologies will be carried out using a state-of-the-art EnviroLogic control system allowing full control of all the technology and information on energy for the occupants.

With social housing making up 4.5m of the UK's 25m homes, improving the carbon output from them could make a very substantial contribution to the nation's target - and any resulting installation work would provide jobs for local contractors.

Kari Best, business support manager for Isos, has found there are almost 400,000 terraced houses in the North East which could potentially benefit from the same kind of retrofit as the Isos 'guinea pig' house in North Shields.

Isos alone owns and manages 564 terraced homes of this type.

Experts employed by Isos - energy efficiency specialists Envirohomes and academics from Northumbria University - have recommended which types of technology should be installed in the Isos house.

The house will end up with exceptionally low running costs, much lower than other houses of a similar age and even lower than equivalent modern houses.

Each pilot, or demonstrator, house will be carefully evaluated by the Energy Saving Trust for at least two years, to check whether the technology being used could be implemented cost effectively across the UK social housing sector.

Kari said: "We are so pleased to have been chosen as one of the standard-bearers for environmental performance in this prestigious competition, and our team will be working hard to make our test house as efficient as possible.

"Many of our residents live on small incomes so anything we can do to reduce their bills is very valuable to them.

"We are also keen to minimise our environmental footprint as an organisation, and this scheme helps us to do that."

Building work will begin in July.

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