Low Energy Retrofit by hmad architects

This example project was completed while Mark McPhee worked with hmad architects.

Copyright of Images belong to hmad architects who have kindly granted permission. 

Working with the local council 3 semi-detached council houses were selected for a complete renovation as part of a pilot scheme. The brief was to minimise the energy use for heating these houses as much as possible, known in the construction industry these days as a low energy retrofit.

Following Passivhaus principles a fabric first approach was taken. This focuses on providing high levels of insulation and avoiding uncontrolled air leakage from inside to outside. This strategy ensures that, as much as practical, any heat put into the home is retained and not lost through draughts or low levels of insulation.

A ventilation system was installed into each of the houses, this becomes very important when making buildings airtight to ensure that adequate levels of fresh air are introduced into each room. We specified ventilation systems with heat recovery (MVHR) so that cooler incoming air could be heated by the warmer air being taken out. 

Once completed it was estimated that the heating demand of these houses was reduced by more than 70%. The benefits of such a scheme are many, not just the significant reduction in energy demand but also the prevention of fuel poverty and improved health and comfort of the occupants.