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LHA-ASRA - UK First For LHA-ASRA Retrofit 

East Midland houses are being insulated from the foundations up in a groundbreaking move by Leicester-based LHA-ASRA.

A revolutionary technique imported from mainland Europe is being applied to two homes in Worksop and Mansfield for what is believed to be the first time in the UK.

The pilot project entails the use of rigid insulating panels that are driven into the ground alongside the wall, right down to the footings.

The panels are intended to prevent heat escaping from the concrete floors into the surrounding soil – trapping the warmth inside four walls.

In addition, underfloor spaces and wall cavities are being filled with neopor beads, bringing added warmth to the structure.

LHA-ASRA believes the retrofit work, which includes the fitting of solar panels and the use of sophisticated energy monitoring and control equipment, could slash fuel consumption by a breathtaking 70 per cent.

As a bonus, damaging carbon emissions will also be cut by and estimated 80 per cent.

The work is being carried out as part of a nationwide programme overseen by the Technology Strategy Board.

The government has set aside a £17 million pot for its ‘Retrofit for the Future’ programme, of which £150,000 has been allocated to LHA-ASRA to find ways to make social housing greener at the same time as reducing fuel bills for tenants.

LHA-ASRA is using its £150,000 to upgrade two properties, while other associations are spending the cash on just one, said Emily Braham, the association’s business development manager.

Some £20,000 has already been allocated to a consortium led by LHA-ASRA, to develop innovative whole house solutions and techniques.

The chosen properties are at Warsop and Meden Valley, and once the retrofit has been completed they are expected to outstrip the thermal performance levels of most new-build houses.

The diversity of the remaining consortium members - include the University of Nottingham, BASF, Domestic and General Insulation Limited, SIG Sustainable Solutions, and Microwatt Electronic Solutions – indicates the range of new technologies that will be applied in the project.

The retrofit is being carried out by Newlife, a local contractor and part of the TREES Group, the biggest social enterprise in the East Midlands.

The project will be used to show other residents energy-saving techniques which should result in lower utility bills.

The programme also provides an educational opportunity for children from local primary schools who will remotely monitor the energy use from the two chosen properties.

William Cornall, Director of Development and Regeneration at LHA-ASRA said: “There are 27 million existing homes in the UK, most of which rely heavily on climate-damaging fossil fuels. These are responsible for around 30 per cent of our total carbon emissions.

“As well as building greener new homes, finding ways to make older housing more energy efficient will play a vital part in meeting the government’s ambitious targets of reducing 80 per cent of emissions by 2050.”


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