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Retrofit of existing housing in the United Kingdom: the carbon reduction possibilities

Bothwell, Keith and Saich, Mark and Mallion, Paul (2011) Retrofit of existing housing in the United Kingdom: the carbon reduction possibilities. In: PLEA 2011 Architecture & Sustainable Development. Presses Universitaires de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, pp. 589-594. ISBN 978-2-87463-277-8. E-ISBN 978-2-87463-279-2. (KAR id:28376)


Feasibility studies were undertaken into retrofitting three examples of social housing stock to meet the carbon reduction targets of the UK government. The results of energy modelling show that the targets cannot readily be met by the combination of passive means and the use of tried and tested technology. On the dwellings modelled up to 50-60% savings in CO2 were predicted using passive measures combined with established solar thermal technology, at a reasonable cost.

To meet the full carbon reduction objectives of the programme it was necessary to employ, in addition to the passive measures, innovative PV-T (Photovoltaic Thermal) panels, whose effectiveness is untested over the long term. The addition of PV-T predicted further carbon savings of around 50% - theoretically making the dwellings net generators of electricity, at significant extra cost.

The buildings were of medium to low architectural quality and the proposals included the application of insulation to the outside face of external walls – the most effective location for wall insulation. However, this solution, employing external insulation, is unlikely to be acceptable for a significant proportion of UK housing, much of which has a higher architectural or historic value.

A key lesson for the retrofit of housing is that, because of both technical and aesthetic considerations, it is highly unlikely to be possible to meet the UK government’s carbon reduction objectives by on-site measures alone.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: N Visual Arts > NA Architecture
T Technology > TH Building construction
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
Depositing User: K. Bothwell
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2011 15:40 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:06 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Bothwell, Keith.

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