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Radian’s reputation as a leader in sustainable development was confirmed by a sold out audience at their inaugural retrofit conference in Liphook, Hampshire on Friday 27th November. 180 delegates from all over the country turned up to benefit from the experience Radian has gained from its pioneering retrofit work.
The packed audience also witnessed passionate presentations from David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, Government advisor Andrew Lee and the co-creator of BREEAM, John Doggart, amongst others. The conference ended with an expert panel, made up from the speakers, taking questions from the floor.
The overriding message from the speakers was that although it is an enormous project, the retrofitting of 500,000 homes per year nationwide for the next 40 years is achievable if the funding is put in place through incentive schemes such as Pay As You Save, and perhaps more importantly the desire is instilled within communities to make the changes to aid climate control.
In the morning, the speakers were taken on a tour of two of Radian’s retrofit projects, where the communities have embraced the change to energy efficient living. Paul Ciniglio, Radian’s Sustainable and Innovation Manager informed the delegation of the savings residents are making from the energy efficiency measures and the impressive amount of electricity generated from the photovoltaic (PV) panels mounted to the roof.
At Highfield Road in Petersfield, Radian is retrofitting 20 homes to reach a core energy efficiency package of 70% reduction in carbon emissions. In addition, renewable solar energy technologies, comprising of hot water panels and PVs generating electricity, have been installed on three of the properties to achieve an estimated 80% reduction in carbon emissions. One of the properties, which was previously heated by electricity, has achieved a reduction of 85% emissions.
The ‘whole house’ refurbishment work takes around 10 weeks per home including a decanting period, where the residents are temporarily moved to one of the finished houses whilst work on their own homes is carried out.
Amongst the energy efficiency measures put in place are: 100mm thick phenolic foam external wall insulation, improved air pressure, double loft insulation, new central heating system including an A-rated gas boiler, whole house ventilation with heat recovery, water efficiency devices and solar thermal panels to the roofs. With the additional PVs, these houses have been improved from an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band of E to a B, and from a Standard Assessment Process (SAP) rating of 43 to 85.
Radian appointed a Community Development Officer to ensure that the upheaval to residents is minimised. A monthly newsletter is sent out to the residents to keep them informed of the progress and home-user manuals will inform them how to get the best out of their new homes, as well as ongoing work with the Petersfield Greening Campaign to help residents lead a greener lifestyle.
Mr and Mrs Leslie have lived in their home for 12 years and are currently in one of the temporary homes, “We can’t fault it. The house is warm with no drafts coming through the windows. It’s just so homely we can’t wait to get into our new home in time for Christmas.”
Lindsay Todd, Chief Executive of Radian said, “Radian’s vision is ‘where people flourish’; we’re about people. Although the conference has been about buildings, it is also about moving people from cold houses to warm, low energy, homes.”
David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation said “Visiting the fantastic schemes that Radian has delivered, you see the impact these benefits have on residents. Radian is a green pioneer and way out there at the forefront of the movement. The challenge is for everyone else to get to the level that they are at.”
Andrew Lee, the Chief Executive of the Sustainable Development Commission which is the Government’s independent advisor on sustainable development, lives in Petersfield; “Radian is doing amazing things, which is all the more impressive as it is on my doorstep. The (Highfield Road) project is an incredible transformation taking place which you can see, not just in the improvements of the buildings, but on people’s faces. “
“Once again Radian has proved to be a leader in retrofit. It was very impressive to hear about the work Radian is doing. A lot of retrofitting skills come out of social housing. What Radian is doing, everyone should be doing. Learning by experience is the quickest and best way of learning.” John Doggart, Chair of Sustainable Energy Academy.
An international delegation from Hungary was present to share best practice as they have been retrofitting up to 2% of their entire housing stock annually. “I am delighted that Radian invited us and very glad that the Hungarian model was mentioned as a good practice from the EU, which is able to implement energy efficiency retrofit projects in the housing sector in large scales.” Erzsebet Krahulecz, Economic Attache, Hungarian Embassy.
“They (Radian) are thought leaders with a tendency to make projects happen and have a recognised pedigree in this area. People want to work with Radian as they recognise the quality they bring.” Duncan Price, Director of CAMCO
“SEEDA is very excited to be a part of Radian’s retrofit work. It’s a relatively new venture so it is great to be a part of a pioneering scheme.” Matthew Heath, ERDF Contract Executive, SEEDA.
For more information on the Highfield Road project or Radian’s retrofit expertise, please visit http://www.radian.co.uk/retrofit/casestudy.php