Tackling hard to treat homes
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Tackling Hard-to-treat homes. Heat pumps, solid wall insulation and non-traditional construction. Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes. Three research exercises commissioned by the Hard-to-treat homes sub-group: Solid Wall Insulation: Impetus, 2004 Heat Pumps: People for Places, 2005

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Tackling Hard-to-treat homes

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Tackling hard to treat homes

Tackling Hard-to-treat homes

Heat pumps, solid wall insulation and non-traditional construction

Energy efficiency partnership for homes

Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes

Three research exercises commissioned by the Hard-to-treat homes sub-group:

  • Solid Wall Insulation: Impetus, 2004

  • Heat Pumps: People for Places, 2005

  • Non-traditional construction: CSE, 2005

Fuel poverty and non traditional construction

Fuel poverty and non-traditional construction

Ian Preston, CSE

Dr Richard Moore



  • ~1 million non-traditional properties in UK

  • Majority built between 1945 the and early 1970s

  • Over 500 systems built between 1919 and 1976

  • Termed system-built or pre-fabricated

  • Four broad categories, by wall construction

  • Thermal efficiency varies significantly

  • In practice, the majority of investment was designed to overcome defects

Aims of study

Aims of study

  • Investigate how many non-traditionally constructed homes still exist in the UK

  • Identify the risk of fuel poverty within them

  • Identify examples of best practice and potential case study areas



  • Produce estimates of SAP and fuel poverty from all four national HCSfor 80 proprietary systems

  • Analysis by nation, sub-category, and where possible proprietary system

  • Results for Scotland and Wales are limited by the design and in the case of Wales by the quality of their HCS

Methodology cont

Methodology (cont.)

  • Estimates of NTH for each local authority

  • Compilation of database from a range of sources

  • Identified 52 authorities with high levels of NTH

  • Contacted the management body to establish works undertaken, and the associated changes in SAP or risk of FP

Sample results

Sample results



in England

Non masonry homes x1000

Non-masonry homes(x1000)

Sap ratings by construction

SAP ratings by construction

La survey

LA survey

  • 19 out of 52 authorities contacted responded

  • 18 respondents (95%) provided numbers of non-traditional houses (LA or LSVT)

  • 14 supplied details of the improvements made

  • 11 provided indicative figures for average work costs

  • Only 6 had estimates for changes in SAP ratings,

  • None commented on the effects of improvements on fuel poverty

La survey1

LA Survey

  • Significant levels of improvement works have been carried out on all non-traditional stock

  • Typical measures include; EWI or replacement brick cavity walls, LI, central heating and new kitchens and bathrooms

  • Majority of investment between 1980s and 90s, but there is a significant amount of ongoing maintenance and improvement

  • Estimated cost of works varies significantly, i.e. from £3,000 to £80,000

La survey2

LA survey

  • Cost of improvements and the value of property is a factor in an authority’s decision to improve them i.e. Rugby Borough Council

  • A comprehensive package of measures is required to a target SAP rating of 65 or above

  • An average cost of £10,000 provides a good indication of expenditure required per property*

  • Costs can be significantly higher when structural work is required to improve or replace walls

Study of heat pumps for hard to treat homes

Study of heat pumps for Hard-to-treat homes

Nicholas Doyle, Places for people

Alan Pither

Tackling hard to treat homes


  • Report on application of heat pumps to hard-to-treat homes

  • Guidance to local authorities, architects and developers



  • Main heat pump technologies

  • Commercial providers

  • Applicability of the technology

  • Case studies

  • Application matrix

  • Initial guidance



  • Literature review

  • Database

  • Interviews with key people

    • Questionnaire 1: Companies

    • Questionnaire 2: Utilities

    • Questionnaire 3: Users



  • UK Heat Pump Network

  • Heat Pump Association

  • Ground Source Heat Pump Club

  • Clear Skies

  • Now most up to date Dbase

Key interviews

Key interviews

  • Heat Pump Association

  • Manufacturers, Installers and Suppliers

  • Energy Companies

  • Landlords

  • Ground Source Heat Pump Club



  • Supplier and installer

  • Member of HPN

  • Majority of Technology is G2W plus W2W

  • Operates throughout UK and occasionally outside

  • Market split evenly between HA, LA and individual householders

  • Majority of work in newbuild

  • Definitely doesn’t believe that HP can be used in HTT - one exception



  • Cautious

  • Overloaded with research

  • Industry changing fast

  • A tipping point?

Utilities survey

Utilities survey

  • All EEC managers called

  • Only 2 responses

  • Cautious – commercially sensitive

  • Special tariffs not perceived as necessary

  • Funding under EEC 2?

Residents survey

Residents’ survey

  • Prize Draw

  • Technology ‘Blind’

  • Perception of heating and hot water

  • Penwith HA, Westlea HA, SCHRI

  • Not Clear Skies

Residents survey1

Residents’ survey

  • Majority had positive views with notable exceptions

  • Controls understood

    • Split between those who thought they were clear and those who thought ‘could be clearer’

  • Costs

    • Limited time with systems

    • Average per week - £13 but ranged from £9 -£20

    • Majority thought very reasonable or affordable

Types of heat pump

Types of heat pump

  • Ground to water

  • Ground to air

  • Water to water

  • Water to air

  • Air to water

  • Air to air

Types of operation

Types of operation

Types of system

Types of system

  • Ground (or water) source heat pump systems using closed loop water source heat pumps.

  • Ground (or water) source heat pump systems using open loop water source heat pumps.

  • Ground source heat pump systems using DX heat pumps.

  • Air source heat pump systems

Case studies

Case studies

1 Penwith Housing Association, Ludgvan

2 Westlea Housing Association, Withy Close

3 Fife Special Housing Association, Ochil View,

4 Shettleston Housing Association, Glenalmond Street, Shettleston

5 Geothermal Heating and Cooling, Burton On Trent

6 Geothermal Heating and Cooling, Kidderminster

7 West Lothian Council

Key lessons

Key lessons

  • Costs dependent on local geological/site conditions

    • Ground water levels

    • Need for lining of boreholes

  • Bore both supply and return boreholes at the same time and an early stage in the project to monitor flows

  • Lack of a user manual

Key lessons1

Key lessons

  • Need to explain to occupants that their radiators will not be hot to touch

  • Correct programming and setting of heat pump temperatures to ensure efficient running of the system is vital

  • Ensure that the best electricity tariff is used

  • Need to train maintenance contractors

The solution for hard to treat homes

The solution for hard-to-treat homes?

  • High specific heat loss (> 100 W/m2) so require relatively large heating systems.

  • If the CoP is >3, they will provide cheaper fuel running costs than any other type of heating system (at current tariff levels).

  • The issue is whether the capital cost is cost-effective compared to the alternatives:

    • The capital cost of ground source heat pump systems is relatively proportional to the output required.

The solution

The solution?

  • Running costs of heat pumps may be lower but not low enough for as an alternative to improved insulation.

  • Low maintenance costs: £120-£250 per year saving (compared with gas systems?)



  • Access to mains gas.

  • Whether the property can be reasonably well insulated using cost effective insulation measures such as cavity wall insulation and loft insulation.

  • Whether the property is to be comprehensively refurbished, including internal or external wall insulation and floor replacement.



  • The existing heating system in the property.

  • Sufficient space for the installation and adequate means of access for the installation equipment.

  • Other local factors that could affect the cost, e.g. ground water levels, the capacity of the local electricity network.

The matrix

The Matrix



  • Newbuild is the natural market

  • A significant industry is developing

  • Existing housing will require individual assessment

  • Not an alternative to insulation for HTT, but complementary to it

Conclusions suitability

Conclusions - suitability?

  • Ground source heat pumps for insulated houses off mains gas

  • Air source heat pumps for high rise/mid rise flats

  • Combination with small-scale renewables, e.g. wind/PV, but even higher capital costs

Insulating solid walls a challenge for local authorities and housing associations

Insulating solid walls: a challenge for local authorities and housing associations

Dave Barton, Impetus

Alastair Brooks, Impetus

Solid wall insulation research

Solid wall insulation research


  • To produce impartial, practical and user-friendly reports

  • To help policy community, local authorities and housing associations



To investigate:

  • experience of specifying, installation and ‘usage’;

  • range of costs and

  • perceived performance of the technology.

Cost effectiveness


Why solid wall insulation

Why solid wall insulation?

  • More cost-effective than some measures currently promoted

  • Significant energy savings

  • A body of experience in social housing

  • Sound technical guidance

  • Need to disseminate existing practice and instil confidence



  • Desktop research

  • Telephone interviews with key players

  • Focus group of experience in:

    • social housing and

    • promoting to the private sector

  • Identify case studies

  • Householders’ feedback

General findings

General findings

  • Building improvement measure, not purely thermal improvements, particularly for EWI

  • Opportunity measure, needs long-term planning: not simple retrofit

  • Considerable associated costs and disruption

  • Technical detailing and quality installations are essential

Comparison of iwi and ewi

Comparison of IWI and EWI

  • More experience on EWI

  • EWI adds value

  • EWI extends building life

  • EWI better able to deal with cold bridging

  • EWI: systems approach, installers and warranty

  • Overall comparison table in report



  • Variable dependent upon building type, numbers etc

  • £2000 for IWI is not unusual

  • Typically EWI £5000 to £10000 for EWI

  • Up to £25,000 for a new brick skin and cavity wall

Findings social housing

Findings: social housing

  • Generally good feedback from tenants on EWI

  • Issues with mixed tenure on blocks

  • Integrate EWI with glazing programme

  • IWI dependent upon skilled builders

  • Some concern about robustness of dry-lining in social housing

  • No detailed research found on householders feedback

Findings private sector

Findings:private sector

  • A few small-scale schemes

  • Limited take-up

  • Grants of £1000 to £3000, some interest free loans

  • Usually marketed with other measures

Social housing exemplars

Social housing exemplars

  • Mid-Suffolk District council: post-1919 terrace improvements

  • London Borough of Enfield: improvements to high-rise blocks

  • Sandwell Borough Council: an example of a new brick skin and cavity wall

  • Sheffield City Council: non-traditional low-rise housing

Private housing scheme exemplars

Private housing scheme exemplars

  • Leicester City Council: Realise

  • The Oxford Solar Initiative

  • Stroud District Council’s Energy Efficiency Grants

  • Wyre Borough Council: Wyred for Energy



Energy Efficiency Partnership for homes www.est.org.uk/partnership/

  • Hard-to-treat homes: a guide for local authorities

  • Investigation of local authority activities w.r.t. HTTH

  • Installing solid wall insulation: a challenge for local authorities and housing associations

  • Installing solid wall insulation: a challenge for policy makers and scheme managers

  • A guide to using heat pumps

  • Heat pump study report

  • Fuel poverty and non-traditional constructions

Thank you

Thank you!

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