Energy Improvements To Council Homes
Retrofitting Winchester City Council’s Homes:
What is Retrofitting:
“Retrofit is simply the process of making changes to existing buildings so that energy/fuel consumption and carbon emissions are reduced. These changes should also provide the benefit of a more comfortable and healthier home with lower fuel bills.”
TRUSTMARK Government Endorsed Quality
OUR RETROFIT STRATEGY:
Retrofitting residential properties requires careful planning and thorough assessment of each property. Winchester City Council will be using the Trustmark quality assurance benchmark to ensure all properties are retrofitted to a high standard. The Trustmark standard demands quality workmanship, supported by expert consultants and delivered by accredited/approved installers. TrustMark - Government Endorsed Scheme For Work Done Around Your Home
Our Retrofit Strategy is based on Expert and Government guidance:
- Fabric first: Decrease the energy/fuel (gas or electricity) usage within a home by repairing and insulating the building envelope (Walls, Floors, Roof)
- Building Services upgrade: Install high performing heating and hot water appliances thereby reducing energy/fuel consumption
- Renewable installation: Use current and innovative technology to generate energy (e.g. solar panels)
Each retrofit programme is specifically designed to suit several different building types. We would like to avoid the idea that ‘one size (one solution) fits all.’ Our aim is to address the worse performing properties first. Our retrofit design will allow us to use technology to monitor the temperature and humidity (moisture) within our homes. The information from the monitors, helps us better our retrofit work.
We are in the process of developing several retrofit programmes some of which are at inception, others in advance stages with Pilot projects already complete and ready for the next phase. These programmes include:
- ‘Retrofit Ready’- carrying out health checks on all standard or typical EPC D and below houses. Health checks include Quality Assured Energy Assessments that will identify basic energy improvements required to ensure the home is ready for a ‘whole house retrofit’ these include – loft insulation, window and door checks, cavity wall insulation and ventilation installation.
- Whole house retrofit to non-traditional / system-built homes that require intense and unique energy work
- Voids/vacant property: Internal Wall Insulation, Loft Insulation, Windows, Doors, and where necessary heating upgrades
- Sheltered Housing and Extra Care Schemes: Installation of smart meters to understand usage, raise energy saving awareness, reduce unnecessary energy use, propose fabric upgrades and install low energy using heating systems
- Develop a low carbon heating strategy through our focus groups, researching several low energy heating systems and trialling various heating systems within our void retrofit work above and within response maintenance programmes
- Develop a strategy for multi-unit apartment blocks
HEADLINES: Spring 2023
- WCC were successful in the bid for Social Housing Decarbonisation Funding (SHDF) offered by the department of ‘Energy Security and Net Zero’. Funding of £534,000 was secured which will allow the council to improve 369 homes to SAP C, targeting loft insulation and external retrofitting to the remaining Swedish timber frame homes.
- Vacant property decarbonisation pilot is underway with 4 properties having fabric upgrades and some exciting new heating systems
- Energy Assessments under the Retrofit Ready Programme to +/-800 properties has begun
- We have begun to receive energy usage data on many of our Sheltered & Cared for Homes
- We are holding several tenant information and collaboration meetings for our Heating Strategy Initiative and for SHDF delivery work
- We have received our monitoring kits and will begin installing Temperature and Humidity/Moisture Monitors in Retrofitted homes to provide us with valuable information which will help us better our Retrofit Work
This webpage aims to provide you with an overview of Winchester City’s Retrofitting Strategy for the Council’s Homes. This page will be updated when programmes begin to evolve or change. Below are a series of FAQ’s that are derived from our newsletter, focus group feedback and tenant surveys – we would like to thank you for your participation.
Current Energy Performance
- Winchester City Council homes have an average SAP score of 70
- WCC homes are currently in line with average energy performance for Local Authority and Housing Association homes at a national level and are above the average across private and social housing in England (SAP 66) ( source: government English Housing survey report English Housing Survey 2021 to 2022: headline report - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) )
- 65% of WCC homes have a SAP Band of C or above* :
SAP BAND DISTRIBUTION IN WCC STOCK:
No. of Homes
% of Homes
Total stock in count
*The council use a combination of data from EPC’s undertaken, updated with improvement works completed since EPC, along with ‘auto-assessed’ information calculated by specialist energy performance software using what we know about the construction and condition of the council’s homes.
If the retrofit works are starting in empty properties which will not necessarily be the poorest performing properties what’s being done about the others?
Winchester City Council’s Void Retrofitting programme aims at selecting and retrofitting properties that are EPC Band D and below. We spend time checking each available void to ensure it is poor performing and requires several improvements before selecting it for the Retrofit Programme. The council also continues to develop several programmes to accelerate the delivery of Retrofit. One such programme is called the Retrofit Ready programme. The Retrofit Ready scheme has been offered to tenants living in the poorest energy performing houses and bungalows, where we will check the condition of the basic energy measures, such as loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, ventilation etc. The Retrofit Ready programme is currently only offered to those properties that are not system built or that have heritage designations, but the council is beginning to develop solutions for those properties that require a more custom design, such as the Swedish cottages, to which we have completed 5 pilot projects.
How are policy decisions made and by whom?
Policies are either National, County or Local. Each of the policies put forward are consulted upon prior to them being proposed or adopted. Many of the policies within the energy sector is driven by National directive due to the United Kingdom’s commitment to meet the Netzero target by 2050.
What is the energy performance the council is aiming for?
There are a few milestones prior to reaching the main target which is to achieve Netzero by 2030.
The first target would be to upgrade all properties that are EPC Band D and below to an EPC C.
Does the money saved from having solar panels stay within housing to reinvest?
As we develop our heating and renewables strategy through consultation, research, and evidence, a financial strategy will begin to emerge. Whatever our proposed solution/s are, you can be assured that the benefits will be community wide.
Are the council commissioning experts?
Yes. The Council’s Retrofit work is governed by PAS 2035 (Publicly Available Specification) which is monitored by Trustmark. This standard demands a quality assured process for retrofitting homes and makes mandatory the use of professional consultants.
Are there any councils that have made a success of this?
Please refer to the link below.
Greater Manchester praised for energy efficiency success | GC Business Growth Hub
Winchester City Council are members of several Energy Hubs, these energy groups are a reliable source of learning through information platforms, energy workshops and case studies. The retrofit sector is young and learning at a rapid pace, Winchester City Council are aware that networks are a necessary resource to ensure successful Retrofit programmes.
What priority is being given to communal areas?
We have several programmes looking at various Housing types to decrease energy usage. One such programme is to understand usage in communal housing blocks (Sheltered Housing and Extra Care Schemes). Once usage is understood using smart metering, we can begin to strategize Retrofit solutions for these properties:
How do you find out the energy performance of your home & when were the energy ratings last calculated?
Find an energy certificate - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The above website should display the most recent EPC for your property if one has been done. The EPC stipulates the minimum energy improvements that will help reduce the energy/fuel use within your property
A new EPC is currently only commissioned before the council re-let or sell a property. In future an EPC will be conducted for all homes included in the retrofit programme.
If a building system is removed – is the associated pipework also removed?
In some cases, new energy efficient systems within a property will require a change in pipe work, this will be looked at when retrofitting properties. Winchester City Council would like to avoid revisiting properties for major disruptive work and will aim to future proof all energy efficient measures installed.
Visit https://www.winchester.gov.uk/housing/help-for-council-amp-housing-association-tenants for further information on:
- High energy bills
- Quick wins
- Creating a more sustainable home
Properties that are grouped according to similar characteristics such as:
- year of construction
- type of construction
- type of property
A home energy assessment, also known as a home energy audit, can help you understand the whole picture of your home's energy use, comfort, and safety.
Energy Performance Certificate - An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.
Carbon Emissions means carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted when fossil fuels are burned in buildings, vehicles, industrial processes etc
Decarbonisation is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through the use of low carbon emitting power sources or zero carbon emitting power sources
Facts about something that can be used in calculating, reasoning, or planning
The fabric of a building comprises the elements that characterise the envelope/skin of a building, such as walls, floors, roofs and all doors and windows.
Humidity is the amount of water vapour in the air. If there is a lot of water vapour in the air, the humidity will be high. High humidity creates excessive condensation.
The city/country’s network of high-voltage power lines between major power stations.
Put simply, net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed by the atmosphere, by oceans and forests for instance.
When a home functions independently, without relying on national supply.
A specification for what is called 'whole-house' or 'whole building' retrofit.
A natural source of energy that is not depleted by use, such as water, wind, or solar power.
Retrofit is simply the process of making changes to existing buildings so that energy/fuel consumption and carbon emissions are reduced. These changes should also provide the benefit of a more comfortable and healthier home with lower fuel bills.”
Whole House Retrofit:
Retrofit can be done in stages over a defined period: 01. Fabric 02. Heating systems 03. Installation of renewables
Some Retrofit will upgrade and change all the above in a condensed period. This requires more upfront and readily available funding, results in greater disruption to the occupant (If occupied) and a larger construction team working intensely on a single property at a time.
Services/ Building Services:
This includes items such as water, sewerage, electricity, heating, hot and cold water etc
A Void property is one that does not have a tenant in place.