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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

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

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

  • 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 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.
  • 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.
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