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Cost of living causing consumers to think again about retrofitting

 

RICS and YouGov survey shows homes therefore less likely to be able to cope with climate impacts or to mitigate rising energy costs

The cost of living crisis, has cast new doubt on the progress towards the United Kingdom’s Net-Zero ambition. Previous research from RICS* had found that homeowners were citing cost of retrofitting as a barrier, but despite new policy measures, new research from RICS and YouGov shows that consumers are now concerned about paying for the cost of living above upgrading their homes.

Retrofitting has obvious benefits, such as being able to maintain a constant temperature in the home, as well as increasing the desirability of your property – the December 2019 Residential Market Survey*, prior to the energy crisis, cited almost two thirds of the survey’s respondents believed that the willingness to pay for energy efficient homes would rise in the next three years.

However, the latest consumer research from RICS and YouGov shows that homeowners are unsurprisingly looking to concentrate spending on escalating household costs.

The new research backs up previous calls made by the institution in 2020 for more policy measures to incentivise industry and consumers to retrofit the UK housing stock. The research found that while 34% of homeowners said they would invest in green technology to lower bills in the future, 45% would be focusing on using any savings to pay for their existing living expenses, meaning more incentives and cheaper options must be made available if the country is to stay on track to meet target and green 15million properties*.

This latest research follows the RICS January 2020 Residential Market Survey* where members operating in the residential sales and lettings market stated that without strong market driven incentives, regulation was the policy lever with the greatest potential to improve energy efficiency outcomes. Alternatively, a tax policy could achieve a similar effect through a mix of stamp duty and a reduction of VAT on home improvements.

Currently, the Government’s ambition to hit Net-Zero carbon emissions requires significant numbers of private homeowners to retrofit their properties to make them greener.

51% who confirmed they hadn’t already installed new energy saving measures in their homes but would know how to, said it was because of the costs involved. And of the same group, even those who would consider it to make their home more attractive to prospective buyers, 40% said they’d only consider spending around £1000 to £5000 on energy improvements, which could pay for some solar panels** but wouldn’t cover the heat-pump.

As the cost of living continues to consume more household finances, measures are needed to avoid many properties failing to meet targets and becoming un-mortgageable. To review the potential impact that failure to support consumers would have on the housing market, most homeowners (55%) would consider installing energy saving schemes if they knew it would make their property more attractive when it came to selling up. With figures from Rightmove showing that greener homes can attract a higher premium, properties need more than an EPC assessment to help inform decisions**.

As EPCs aren’t the best measure for all properties, as some listed buildings can’t have triple glazing for example, RICS is recommending and working with lenders and government to look into ‘Retrofit Surveys’ which would enlist the expertise of a professional – such as a building surveyor- to provide detailed advice on what technologies homeowners could install to help inform their decisions. This is supported with 77% of homeowners saying they’d find this advice helpful when thinking of buying a new home.

Sam Rees, Senior Public Affairs Officer at RICS, said:

“The retrofitting of millions of UK homes will be essential to helping to meet our net zero ambitions, however homeowners’ immediate concerns are understandably with the rising cost of living, especially their energy bills. It is important to recognise that retrofitting and the cost of living are not mutually exclusive issues.

“A suitably retrofitted, low-carbon home can help with the long-term challenges of the cost of living and reducing high levels of energy consumption. Achieving this however is not cheap. With the UK Government giving financial support to homeowners to support them with rising energy prices, RICS is calling on the government to extend this support and provide additional financial incentives to homeowners to encourage retrofitting and ultimately helping to tackle the cause of high energy usage.

“Before any significant investment is made on retrofit measures, RICS urges homeowners and the government to ensure a retrofit assessment is undertaken on the property first – ensuring that no unintended consequences occur such as overheating or increased energy demand. This is critical to protecting consumers and RICS is undertaking significant research to support such assessments.”

FURTHER INFORMATION

*RICS UK Residential Market Surveys UK Residential Market Survey (rics.org)

**Rightmove-Green-Homes-Report.pdf

The top energy saving measures homeowners who know how to make their home more environmentally friendly said they already had installed in their property were:

Double or triple glazed windows – 71%
Energy-efficient lighting – 69%
Loft/cavity wall insultation – 63%
Energy efficient appliances – 52%
Solar panels – 17%
Air source heat pumps 5%
Geothermal heating – 2%

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4357 adults of which 2776 are homeowners. Fieldwork was undertaken between 31st May – 3rd June 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

* 15 million homes need energy efficiency upgrades – Lloyds Banking Group plc

** Solar panels typically cost between £2,900 and £6,700 according to the Energy Saving’s Trust.

Models from Air Vent Technology’s extensive range of heat recovery units are particularly suited for installation into schools, ensuring that buildings are properly ventilated, whilst keeping heat loss during the winter months to a minimum.

The new range of Infinity® low profile heat recovery units are available in 10 standard sizes with airflow up to 4.33 m3 /sec. Options are side, or bottom access, a stacked arrangement if desired, and for internal or external installation.

Units are available with either an EHB or LPHW heater battery, and are only some of AVT’s extensive range of ventilation products (air handling – heat recovery – energy efficient with EC motors – cabinet and twin fans and emergency smoke extract units).

For further information please contact Email: Sales@airventtechnology.co.uk Web: www.airventtechnology.co.uk

 

Vortice is striving for a greener tomorrow and is asking its customers to participate! As part of this, the company will be gifting Christmas tree seeds this December. Clean air cannot be taken for granted and as air experts, Vortice’s mission is to improve the quality of the air that we breathe and to work towards maximum well-being in the buildings we inhabit. Assisting in this mission by providing additional trees to improve outdoor air quality, is a long standing tradition of the company.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow and also help to reduce ozone levels in urban areas. During the process of photosynthesis, trees take in carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen that we breathe. In the same way, house plants can improve oxygen levels indoors. Their leaves also help to collect dust and debris from the air, allowing the householder to wipe them clean and remove the dirt.

So, how else can we improve the quality of the air we breathe within the home?

1          Use good quality ventilation fans installed correctly to ensure that moist, stale air is taken out of the building. Prolonged exposure to damp indoor air can cause asthma and nasal congestion.

2          Ensure that you turn the fan on or open a window when you’ve had a shower, when you’ve been cooking or doing the washing, in order to allow damp air out.

3          Capture the heat! If you have a heat recovery system, ensure it is working correctly and is maintained. These units capture the warmth contained within stale air, by passing it over a heat exchanger, transferring the heat to the incoming fresh air thereby saving energy which would have otherwise been lost.

4          Clean any mould that appears within the home immediately, its spores can be damaging to the lungs and inflame the airways.

Having an issue with condensation and mould? The Vortice technical department would be only too happy to offer advice on the best ventilation solution for you. Vortice has a wide range of fans suitable for bathrooms, wet rooms, utilities and kitchens, as well as whole house units.

For this and more useful information visit the Vortice website www.vortice.ltd.uk

Popular Welsh manufacturer, GRH Food Company, has toasted its latest expansion which is set to double its production capacity. Work on the state-of-the-art facility includes the installation of The Kingspan KoolDuct System which provides a lightweight solution for the facility’s ventilation and cooling requirements.

The expansion at the Snowdonia Business Park includes the creation of a Cheese Innovation Centre to test new trends for blends, flavours and high nutrition cheeses for UK and international markets. Overseen by mechanical contractor, DD Cooling Ltd, 800 m2 of the Kingspan KoolDuct System was installed on the Air Handling Units by delivery partners, Holders Sheet Metal Ltd.

Ductwork fabricated from the Kingspan KoolDuct System can help to reduce operational costs as it is capable of reducing air–leakage rates to a fraction of those typical of rectangular sheet metal ductwork, in addition to limiting heat transfer, which will help to maintain a controlled temperature for the cold rooms. The System can also weigh up to 75% less than ductwork constructed from galvanised sheet steel and insulated with mineral fibre. This was key to its specification, as Craig McNaught, Project Manager from Holders Sheet Metal Ltd, explained:

“Air Handling Units have been used to make servicing and cleaning easier but, with the ductwork needing to be installed on a suspended ceiling, weight was an issue. Kingspan KoolDuct was ideal as it could ensure the cool air that passes through the ducts remains unaffected by the heat generated through cheese production, and the ductwork is also much lighter than other options.”

An additional challenge for the project was access to the ductwork. Kingspan KoolDuct is pre-insulated ductwork that allows the installation to be much easier and less time-intensive than lagged ductwork as it can be installed in a single-fix.

Craig McNaught added:

“Due to access issues, the duct needed to be manufactured and assembled in the roof space. Being able to take a selection of hand tools up with the Kingspan KoolDuct meant that the project could be completed on time.”

Ductwork fabricated from The Kingspan KoolDuct System is also well suited to projects targeting high standards in energy efficiency. The system panels have been assigned a highest possible BRE Green Guide Summary Rating of A+. The Kingspan KoolDuct System is also UL Listed as a Class 1 Air Duct, to Standard for Safety UL 181 (Underwriters Laboratories: Factory Made Air Ducts & Air Connectors), when fabricated to a specification clearly defined by UL.

For further information, please contact: Tel: +44 (0) 1544 387 384 email: info@kingspaninsulation.co.uk Website: www.kingspaninsulation.co.uk

Titon has introduced a new CPD seminar aimed at increasing awareness of how purge and overheating affects everyday quality of life.

The latest seminar has been created to help specifiers and designers within the residential sector interpret the current regulations regarding ventilation and overheating. It will also aid them with identifying areas that need special attention during the design and build of a dwelling.

The CPD, which is designed to last an hour, is an ideal opportunity for specifiers and designers to speak to dedicated engineers who understand and can explain the importance of understanding this hot topic. The seminar aims to cover the forms of ventilation available and how it fits in with Part F and Part L(a), as well as giving an insight into overheating.

The CPD focuses on how purge ventilation design plays an important part within a dwelling. It also covers compliance with Building Regulations, and gives an overview of overheating.

Commenting on the newly created CPD, Lee Caulfield, Sales Director, said: “The issue of purge and overheating in dwellings is a key one, as it needs to be addressed at the earliest stages of building design. We believe this CPD will give designers and specifiers the tools to deliver the best possible outcomes for their projects, as well as a thorough knowledge and understanding of the complex requirements when it comes to ventilation strategies.”

To register for the new CPD from Titon, visit https://cpduk.co.uk/directory/profile/titon. Seminars can be conducted at a specifier’s or designer’s premises, or at Titon’s offices in Essex.

For more information about Titon and its range of ventilation systems, please visit: www.titon.co.uk

Vortice Limited has always been committed to educating its customers about the importance of ventilation and is now thrilled to get behind DEFRA’s new clean air strategy consultation. This new draft outlines very simply that ‘Air pollution is the top environmental risk to human health in the UK, and the fourth greatest threat to public health after cancer’. The draft clearly shows the connection between suitable, correct ventilation and good indoor air quality which maintains the health and wellbeing of the occupants.

Vortice knows only too well the importance of this and has made it its mission over the years to be a voice within the industry ensuring customers get a correct and compliant ventilation system by offering a complete design, aftersales and training service.

The DEFRA consultation also discusses how occupant behaviour can affect the ventilation requirements of a home. Vortice has listened to housebuilders and specifiers and works hard to provide a range of ventilation solutions for many different applications to improve indoor air quality in airtight dwellings.

For new build properties, Vortice offers a range of whole house solutions such as the compact Vort HR 200 BP heat recovery unit which has a 100% fully filtered bypass meaning no outdoor pollutants can enter the home. The unit also has a smart controller which indicates when the filters require cleaning and changing. For existing households there is a wide range of stylish bathroom, utility and kitchen fans, complete with many sensor options such as the attractively designed Punto Evo Flexo axial fan.

Marketing Manager Jennifer Quinn said ‘Vortice welcomes this new Government strategy as this will underscore what we have been talking about for years. It is important for us as a ventilation manufacturer always to offer a compliant solution suitable for the end application and to provide education to the installer and end user. We find lack of education is the key issue here so it is great to see this consultation highlighting the risks of bad ventilation and what damage this can have on the occupant’s health.”

Vortice will be promoting good practice during Green Great Britain Week, which begins on 15 October 2018 and is designed to engage the public in the debate on air quality alongside climate change and highlight the economic opportunities it offers for the UK.

For more details about Vortice products visit www.vortice.ltd.uk.

Ventilation design and specification for multi-occupancy buildings is now as simple as A,B,C through an innovative approach pioneered by Gilberts.

Britain’s leading air movement specialist is the first to develop a stock, single-unit hybrid solution focussed on natural ventilation with heat recovery- its Mistrale Fusion System (MFS). The company’s pioneering approach has continued, with the evolution of the system that now enables simple addition of extra elements.

Thus, the core MFS is manufactured as a standard product, with ‘add-on’ items to meet the varying specifications of each project. Elements such as heating coils, filters, silencers, duct connection outlets and louvre transformation, plus a range of air volumes for warm up or purge ventilation, to supplement the standard airflow rates, ensure the MFS brings a comprehensive hybrid solution to the extensive, variable building demands for ventilation.

“Using this modular approach makes it as simple as possible for the precise needs of each room to be met, in line with the latest F.O.S and BB101 requirements,” explains Gilberts’ Technical Director Roy Jones. “It means the MFS is retained as a standard, individual module to which bespoke parts are added in compliance with the architectural requirements, simplifying and accelerating the whole building services design, supply and installation process.

Further, because Gilberts undertakes all R&D in-house, it can still efficiently tailor-engineer the MFS to create a bespoke answer to individual project demands. Thus, all involved in the construction supply process benefit from a commercially viable single source strategy.

The approach has been exemplified in delivery of a number of schools- new build and refurbishment. Gilberts’ MFS enabled the precise requirements of each classroom to be accommodated- level of occupation, room orientation, site geography- even in those learning spaces with complex needs such as IT suites, science laboratories and SEN special needs classrooms.

It also meant project-specific design constraints could be overcome- for example one façade included a 6° deviation from the vertical, so Gilberts engineered a bespoke duct transition piece and special louvre system to ensure an airtight fit. In another, there was no suitable external façade, so Gilberts engineered a vertical solution to provide intake and extraction through the roof.

“The flexibility of the product are limited only by the building designer’s imagination!” adds Roy Jones. “The standard permutations cover almost every core requirement; our ability to develop, engineer and test bespoke strategies means that an issue which may normally be a deal-breaker can be addressed and turned into a deal-maker: a true one stop shop solution with the benefits of modular design.”

MFS is just part of Gilberts’ diverse range of ventilation systems, grilles, louvres and diffusers which, coupled with its in-house expertise, have established it as the leading independent supplier of air movement solutions in the UK.Family-owned, Gilberts has a 55 year pedigree in developing and manufacturing innovative air movement solutions. It is unique in its sector in its ability to design, engineer and supply its products with all processes undertaken in-house at its 85,000ft2 head office and manufacturing facility in Blackpool.

For more information please visit www.gilbertsblackpool.com.

As Grange First School in Gosforth embarked upon a school extension project, ensuring good ventilation and air quality was an important element both for the comfort of the teachers and children and for their learning. The new classrooms for Early Years have now opened and the Vortice heat recovery systems installed have proved a great success.

Roy Brown, Area Sales Trade Manager for Vortice said “After considerable research, Newcastle City Council specified the Vort NRG 1500 ECR EH Diva heat recovery units for each of the new classrooms. These units are complete with CO2 demand control to ensure the correct amount of fresh air is delivered into the classroom dependent upon its requirement and occupancy levels. Stale extracted air is passed over a heat exchanger so that warmth is recovered and goes into the incoming fresh air, enabling good energy efficiency. “

The NRG units are all floor mounted as they are situated within resources store cupboards in the classroom, which have skylights to allow in natural daylight. This also means that the units are easily accessible to enable filter changes.

Roy Brown continues: “When you have around 32 occupants in a classroom all day, it is important for their health and wellbeing that the air is fresh. The Vort NRG range is ideally suited for schools and offices and with several configurations available there is sure to be one that suits your project.”

For more information about Vortice visit www.vortice.ltd.uk.

Cembrit has expanded its growing portfolio of roofing accessories with the Cembrit Slate Mono Ridge Ventilation, a practical fibre cement product that provides ridge capping for pitched roofs.

Cembrit Slate Mono Ridge Ventilation is specifically designed to provide a high level of ridgeline ventilation. Colour matched for use with Cembrit fibre cement slates, the ridge is suitable for monopitch roofs ranging from 20° to 40°. The range includes start and end caps for a neat finish. Weighing 4kg, the product is lightweight, making it easy to transport and carry up to roof level. At 530mm in length, it is possible to carry two linear metres of ridge at a time.

“Monopitch ridges are regularly requested and we are pleased to offer a ventilated option that allows designers and building owners to comply with roof ventilation standards,” says Ged Ferris, Marketing Manager of Cembrit. “The slate mono ridge ventilation provides a visually appealing and weathertight roof. With its quick and easy installation, we are confident the product will tick all the boxes for our customers.”

Cembrit Slate Mono Ridge Ventilation is a fibre cement product that complements the smooth, flush look of the fibre cement slates. The ridges are lighter in weight than concrete alternatives, making them easier to install for a roofer working at height. The ridges do not require electric power for cutting, or any dust suppression equipment, equalling a much easier and quicker fitting process. They can be dry fixed with readily available colour matched “sela” type screws and installation is not dependent on getting the correct mortar mix, or having to wait for dry weather.

Cembrit Slate Mono Ridge Ventilation has an air capacity of 5,000 mm2 per linear metre. The ridge meets the requirements of British Standard BS5250 ‘Control of Condensation in Buildings’ when fitted to the requirements of BS5534 ‘Code of Practice of Slating and Tiling’.

For further information visit www.cembrit.co.uk, email sales@cembrit.co.uk or tel: +44 (0) 208 320 1184.

The revolution in indoor climate control and security spearheaded by smart technologies is the subject of a UK Construction Week seminar being given by GEZE UK’s head of window technology.
Spencer Allen for will share the spotlight with the likes of architect and television presenter George Clarke and representatives of the BRE, Carbon Trust and Sunday Times, during the showcase event, staged at the NEC Birmingham, 10 – 12 October.

He will explore the concept of smart natural air ventilation, how it works, outline its benefits and examine the findings of recent studies on its effects on workplace productivity and reducing ‘sick building syndrome’.

The session, which takes place at 2.30pm within the Smart Buildings Hub, on 10 October, will look at how smart solutions are used in life-saving buildings such as hospitals and how they can be used to save lives in the event of fire by allowing safe and smoke free escape.

It will also address security – eliminating ‘windows left open’ and the benefits of safe and secure night ventilation on buildings for optimum ‘next working day’ environments.
Said Spencer, GEZE UK’s National Sales Manager for Window Technology: “We spend 90% of our time indoors, so it’s not surprising that improving air quality inside buildings is in all our interests.

“With climate change resulting in ever-increasing temperatures and more frequent heatwaves within the UK, it is time that we looked at efficient ways of improving building ventilation which will require less energy usage.”

Event attendance is free. For further information click here.

For more information about GEZE UK’s comprehensive range of products and system solutions call 01543 443000 or visit www.geze.co.uk.