Many of us want to improve our homes, either to make them more comfortable, to reduce our energy bills, or to reduce our carbon emission. But where to start?
Simply switching to a heat pump could easily put you in fuel poverty and leave you struggling for heat in winter, this is because heat pumps don't output as much energy as fossil-fuel boilers.
The best first step is to reduce the energy demand of the house, by insulating and improving it's airtightness, this is known as a 'fabric-first' approach.
Many homeowners will have installed loft insulation or double glazing, and while these measures can help reduce your energy demand, to get the energy demand as low as we need means looking at the whole house and how different measures affect each other. This cannot be done by an installer, who is typically only interested in installing one thing, it needs to be done by a Retrofit Assessor
Here's how it works......
The Retrofit Process
An introductory meeting at the household takes place to explain the principles of Whole House Retrofit. The primary purpose of this meeting is to determine the client’s Intended Outcomes for the Retrofit Project. This is also a good opportunity to obtain copies of the household energy bills.
This normally takes a whole day for a normal house and requires measurements in every room, moving of large items of furniture and lifting of floor boards and loft hatches where accessible. If a thermography study is required this has to be conducted before dawn.
The survey information is then used to accurately calculate the energy consumption of the home and the data is compared with energy bills from the client as a double check. At this stage a Retrofit Risk Assessment is also carried out to determine how the project will be executed.
Improvement Option Evaluation
All the possible options for upgrading the property to meet the client’s Intended Outcomes are evaluated. This is presented to the client and each measure is shown with its capital cost, its payback period and its carbon cost-effectiveness. The measures are listed in the order in which they need to be carried out. These could be carried out in quick succession or as part of a step-by-step retrofit over many years
Medium Term Retrofit Plan
Once the appropriate measures have been agreed with the client a Medium Term Retrofit Plan is written and lodged with TrustMark in their national database. This makes the plan available to future retrofit contractors and building owners to complete the work.
The retrofit design is carried out to comply with the requirements of PAS2035 to ensure that all the measures interact appropriately and so that the contractor has a design to follow. This may be in the form of drawings or specifications