Our pioneering 28-home project in the UK highlights how to achieve – and verify – real energy savings from quality renovation work and dramatically improve living conditions of residents.
A high-quality renovation of 28 homes by Knauf Energy Solutions (KES) and Knauf Insulation Northern Europe (KINE) should pave the way for a radical new approach to making UK homes more energy efficient and millions of families more comfortable. Carol Valentine, one of the residents who benefited from the innovative scheme, said that prior to the retrofit she had to wear extra clothes to keep warm when it was cold. “Now I can really feel the difference,” she says. The renovation of the social housing properties in Trafford, Manchester, was carried out to the highest possible standards, rigorously assessed by KES and customised to meet the individual dimensions and challenges of each individual building. Prior to the renovation, the energy efficiency of 12 of the buildings – reflecting the full architectural range of the homes on the estate – was measured using sophisticated KES technology over a period of three months.
Following the deep renovation work, all 28 of the buildings were continuously assessed by machine-learning sensors to deliver real life information based on thousands of data points ranging from climatic conditions and internal temperature to carbon emissions and energy use. The results were significant. The energy efficiency of the average home was found to have been improved by 31% — adding up to energy savings of £400 a year. Overall, across all the buildings, energy efficiency improved between 20% to 51% creating energy savings of between £228 and £660. The project’s results come at a turning point in UK housing. As part of a £2 billion recovery programme to create thousands of jobs, reduce carbon emissions and shrink energy bills, the UK has launched a scheme that offers grants of up to £5,000 to cover the cost of home energy efficiency improvements including insulation.
Steven Heath, our Technical & Strategy Director for Northern Europe, says: “We welcome government efficiency measures as part of the Green Homes Grant, but building energy efficiency schemes cannot be allowed to simply subsidise insulation. It is vital they give the government, house owners, landlords and residents what is actually being paid for — a warm, comfortable home with low energy bills. “The KES approach delivers that assurance. The Manchester project demonstrates the importance of documented high-quality renovation work and the essential component of measuring the effectiveness of those improvements with real life quantifiable data.”
Carol Valentine, one of the residents whose two-bedroomed home was renovated, says she used to wear extra clothes to keep warm in her “really cold” home.
RETROFIT INSPIRES TRUST
“Knauf Energy Solutions brought a level of quality control we haven’t experienced in other retrofit projects,” says Sarah McClelland, Environmental Manager of Great Places, the association that owns the renovated homes.
Prior to the KES renovation, Sarah says the association was receiving complaints that residents were struggling to heat their homes even though they had been given reasonable Energy Performance Certificate ratings.
These ratings are based on Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) which assesses how much energy a home will consume using standardised assumptions about occupancy and behaviour.
Speaking to the UK’s publication Inside Housing, Sarah added: “We realised that while on paper the homes looked like they were insulated, maybe in reality things weren’t working as well as they could have been. This measurement service is the first time we have been offered certainty that our homes have actually been improved.”
WHY IS THIS PROJECT IMPORTANT?
A Knauf Energy Solutions (KES) home guarantees real return on investment for customers. “Working in partnership with Knauf and using real time data, this project has helped us to demonstrate the savings in terms of carbon and money for our customers,” says Matt Harrison, CEO, Great Places. A KES home contributes to UK 2050 net zero carbon commitments. The Trafford homes were built between 1972 and 1980. Like these, approximately 80% of the UK’s buildings will still be around in 30 years. KES renovation demonstrates real life carbon reductions. Energy inefficient homes account for about a quarter of UK greenhouse emissions.
"Knauf Energy Solutions is an environment which is showing the edges of what is possible. It is a one-stopshop that promises energy savings and delivers — from the installation of energy solutions to the measuring of results. It is a business model for the future.
Frédéric Deslypere, Group Chief Financial Officer
Banner image: The renovation of 28 homes was carried out by Knauf Energy Solutions and Knauf Insulation Northern Europe.