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Retrofit Scheme Turns Up the Heat on UK’s Housing Stock

A social housing property in Oxfordshire has been chosen to showcase the energy efficiency benefits of installing green technologies as part of a ‘Retrofit for the Future’ scheme to improve the UK’s social housing stock.

Owned by Soha Housing, the fairly nondescript property in the South Oxfordshire town of Didcot has been transformed as part of the Technology Strategy Board’s Retrofit for the Future programme. The largest social housing provider in South Oxfordshire, Soha Housing manages more than 5,500 homes, and the energy efficiency programme is designed to showcase innovative technologies, and how using them can reduce emissions.

As part of the retrofit scheme, the Didcot property has been “upgraded” to include a new energy efficient boiler, solar water heating and increased draught proofing. As part of the programme, the home’s energy performance will be monitored over the course of two years, but the property’s tenants are already reaping the benefits of the modifications, which are helping to reduce their energy bills.

“We intend to use the lessons we learn throughout the two years that this project runs to improve the energy efficiency of our stock,” commented Steve Lynch, SohaHousing’s director of property and development.

“We are very grateful to the residents for enduring the inconvenience disurbance.  Without their enthusiasm and support, this project would not have been successful,” he added.

The Government has set a target of an 80% reduction in CO2 levels by 2050, and retrofit programmes like this are essentially a means of implementing best practice retrofitting, to determining how the nation’s existing housing stock – the majority of which is poor insulated – can be upgraded to be more energy efficient.

Under the Retrofit for the Future programme – which is funded and managed by the Technology Strategy Board – some 86 social housing units across the UK will be retrofitted with innovative new technologies, such as solar thermal panels, heat pumps and solar PV systems. As part of the scheme, emissions and energy usage will be monitored for two years.

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