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June 26, 2018
Preparations are moving fast for the near net zero energy retrofit of 5 homes in Maldon, Essex, owned by social housing provider Moat. This will be the first UK pilot using the innovative Energiesprong model to be supported by E=0 project funding from the European Union. Preferred bidder ENGIE has just received the results of a detailed technical survey, so will now confirm the price of the work and help detail the ‘comfort plan’ to be offered to residents. Planning applications went in at the start of June.
Moat owns 34 semi-detached properties on Mundon Road, interspersed with privately owned homes bought under the UK ‘right to buy’ scheme. Potential participants have been shortlisted and now 4 or 5 are ready to proceed. Those that didn’t wish to participate mentioned reasons like intending to buy the property and owning a wood stove, which they wished to keep. Shortlisted households have higher than average energy bills and this is a very different group of residents to the Nottingham Energiesprong pilot earlier this year, including more multiple occupancy homes.
Jason Amos, Director of Property Services at Moat, said “This pilot is looking to address energy improvements to existing housing stock in a very innovative way. The goal is to help reduce fuel poverty, whilst improving the health and wellbeing of our customers.”
On Monday 4 June there was a show and tell event in the local community centre that introduced residents to the project. Arnout Andrews, attending on behalf of the Energiesprong UK team, commented: “It was great. There were lots of questions, lots of interactions and that’s all part of delivering a good solution.”
The presentations introduced ENGIE, shared examples from the UK Nottingham City pilot and presented the designs for the Maldon pilot by Gardner Stewart Architects. Ms Edwards, a resident attending the event, commented “The project is exciting and the finished result looks really smart but the best bit has to be the expected savings on energy costs”.
The proposed design uses a Mauer pre-fabricated, super insulated facade with a lightweight brick effect finish, triple glazed windows and high-performance doors. The architects and ENGIE visited the Mauer factory and were impressed with their versatile solution. Adding brick slips would add more weight, so this textured brick effect offers an advantage assuming the residents and planners like it.
The new highly insulated roof panel will come with integrated PV solar panels. New dormers with double glazed windows will be fitted to the front as planning requires them to be kept. Cement tiles will be fitted to give a consistent look. The redundant brick chimney will be capped and sealed.
A conditioned indoor climate (heating and ventilation) is proposed to be provided by a compact fully integrated Factory Zero energy module on each property. For the pilot, this will contain an air source heat pump, hot water tank, PV inverter and mechanical ventilation unit. The on-board monitoring kit will provide real time measurements at suitable levels of detail for keeping the energy supplier, landlord and occupant informed. The energy module will be sited on the back or side of the house so that the equipment inside it can be maintained without disturbing the residents.
Recent technical surveys covered a structural assessment of the pilot properties. This process established if the walls are strong enough to bolt on external wall panels. Without the required strength a trench would need to be dug and filled to provide a foundation to sit the panels on. The survey also looked at the roof to see if it is strong enough to support solar PV, plus whether there was any potential asbestos in the property to avoid. It looked at drains and cables in the ground to reveal if any could be problematic for the plans. It also looked at fine detail such as any impact the new facades might have on the opening of doors, especially in corners.
The final energy performance will be near net zero. This is largely driven by the fact that the whole roof will not be covered with solar. The energy performance of the homes is set to be guaranteed for 30 years, split into 10 year periods, assuring long term comfort and affordable warmth for Moat’s customers.