White Horse Avenue, Halstead, Essex - Pilot

About the building

This semi-detached dwelling was built in the construction boom period of post-war Britain. As part of the Greenfields Community Housing decent homes scheme, it was scheduled for a whole-house refurbishment, including renewal of the kitchen bathroom and heating system.

Greenfields Community Housing had three key design objectives. They required a design that:

  • focuses on fuel poverty
  • can be retro-fitted across their existing stock
  • will achieve the Government’s 2050 target of 80% carbon reduction.

Further information

Key facts

  • BREEAM rating: Excellent
  • Score: 79.59%
  • House Type: Post-war semi-detached
  • Size: 91m2
  • Stage: Post-refurbishment
  • BREEAM version: Domestic Refurbishment - Pilot

Overview of environmental features

 This pilot project includes the following features:

  • 2.8kWp photovoltaic (PV) system
  • 7kW air source heat pump
  • 400mm Warmcel loft insulation
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) system
  • ‘A’ rated triple-glazed windows
  • 90mm phenolic insulation for the walls
  • Airtightness post refurbishment <3 m3/hr/m2 at 50Pa
  • Dual-flush WCs, flow restrictors on taps and shower, and low water capacity bath

The BREEAM assessment

Maximum BREEAM credits were awarded in the Water, Waste, Management and Ecology categories, and the refurbished building also scored well the Energy, Materials and Health & Wellbeing categories.

Building services

  • The property makes use of a 2.8 kWp photovoltaic array and a Worcester Bosch Greensource 7kW air source heat pump to provide heating, hot water, and electricity.
  • In the summer months, approximately 98% of the electrical demand will be provided entirely from the PV array, providing free renewable electricity to the property. The air source heat pump will meet the heating and hot water demand.
  • A mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR) system is used to ventilate the property.

 Green strategy

  • The refurbishment followed the ‘fabric first’ approach, whereby the energy demand was reduced by adding more loft and wall insulation, and installing new windows and doors with lower U values. This approach reduced carbon emissions from 122.77kgCO2/m2/year to 61.85kgCO2/m2/year – an improvement of 49%.
  • Water use has been reduced by installing dual-flush toilets, flow restrictors on taps and showers, as well a bath with low water capacity. This has reduced the water consumption to less than 100 litres per person per day.
  • In order to reduce the waste produced while the house is inhabited, a 30 litre fixed recycling bin has been provided in the kitchen, and the property is included on the doorstep recycling scheme by the Braintree district council.

 Project team details

  • Client: Greenfields Community Housing
  • Developer: Higgins Construction
  • Architect: Hunters
  • BREEAM Assessor: NRG Consulting

The resident of the house, Mrs Phillips, moved into the refurbished property in December 2010, and after one year said:

‘We’ve also been monitoring our fuel bills and, although we have no gas supply, our electricity bill has been minimal, which means we are making significant savings on our fuel bill each year. The air source heat pump combined with the photovoltaic array now efficiently meets our heating and hot water needs. Our fuel bills have been significantly reduced and we feel happy that we’re doing our bit to help the environment.’

White Horse Long


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