News

BEIS workshops - enter the energy efficiency debate for traditional buildings - June 2019


The STBA's paper on "EPCs and the Whole House Approach” has outlined numerous issues with the use of EPCs to drive Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEES), especially for traditional buildings. The government's proposal to require all private rented homes to meet EPC Band C by 2030 is of particular concern.

With a view to a consultation in the autumn of 2019, BEIS is exploring policy design options and will be running regional stakeholder workshops to discuss options. They are is organising a series of events (see below) and the best way to call the attention of the government to the issues is to attend one of these meetings and make your views known. 

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any other aspect of the current proposals for the built environment. 

 

To sign up for one of the workshops, click on the event:

If you can’t attend a workshop, there is a webinar on 11 July 2019 from 10.30 to 12.00. Register here to join the webinar or email prstrajectoryfeedback@beis.gov.uk.


 

Image description
Image description

New PAS 2035/2030:2019 - June 2019


The standard on requirements for the installation of energy efficiency measures (EEM) in existing buildings is now available via the BSI website.



Image description

 

 

STBA-SPAB Conference - 11th June 2019, London


The 2019 STBA-SPAB Conference & Expo - Sustainability of Traditional Buildings - will again take place at The Gallery, 75 Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6EL - kindly provided by Alan Baxter.


The sustainability of old buildings is reliant on their ongoing use and reuse in the modern world. Understanding how they function (building physics), and how we should be maintaining and upgrading them are key to their continued usefulness – particularly in view of the climate crisis and increased occupant demands.

 

The 2019 STBA-SPAB Conference & Expo will look at current research, the situation of regulations and initiatives, as well as the skills training that enable our built environment to include a wealth of healthy buildings with heritage and aesthetic value. 

 

We shall look at the important role materials play, hear from those successfully carrying out retrofit/refurbishment and receive an update on the STBA large-scale pilot of retrofit using the whole-house approach (funded by the BEIS Building Thermal Efficiency Innovation Fund).

 

Download the programme and flyer.


Presentations from the STBA-SPAB Conference are being uploaded onto our website
- accessible once the speakers have given their permission.

 

This event is sponsored by Lime Green who will be taking part in the Exhibitor Showcase before lunch. This 'dance-off' will comprise very short presentations on the topic of external renders that improve thermal performance.

 




Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description

Wales invites comments on new qualifications

May 2019


Qualifications Wales have opened a series of surveys inviting feedback on the draft requirements for the new general, school-based qualifications and post-16 qualifications in construction and the built environment that they have been developing. For each qualification they have published a draft version of the minimum requirements and a survey inviting stakeholders to offer feedback on the qualifications. If you would like to take part in these surveys, they will be open until midday on 14 June 2019


To participate in the survey in English, click here - and in Welsh, click here.




Image description

Historic Environment Policy for Scotland 

May 2019


The new Historic Environment Policy for Scotland comes into use on 1st May 2019 and replaces Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

 

Download via the HES website.

Image description


Colouring London building data map

April 2019 


UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis is developing an interactive map that will show information on the buildings of London. This project is supported by Historic England.


Colouring London is an open data platform, designed by University College London, to collect, collate, visualise, and make accessible, fifty categories of statistical data, for every building in London.


Once the project is live, they will be looking for volunteers of all ages and abilities, and from all sectors and disciplines, to join their citizen science project and help create a free statistical database, and beautiful, colour-coded building maps. If you live in, manage, design, build, study, care for, or just love London's buildings, you will be able to volunteer your knowledge, via their platform, to help make London more sustainable.


It will be interesting to see if this platform could eventually expand to include whole-house survey data.


 

More . . . .



Image description
Image description


Whole-House Retrofit chosen as ASBP Awards winner - February 2019


Bowman’s Lea, a retrofit project by Harry Paticas, was voted the ASBP Awards overall winner – and the People’s Choice – at the recent Healthy Buildings Conference & Expo 2019.

 

The awards recognise construction projects which exemplify excellence in sustainability through their products, design and delivery. This project demonstrates the use of the whole-house approach to a ‘step-by-step’ retrofit and has achieved the Passivhaus EnerPHit standard. Whilst this is a 1978 property, the same whole-house principles apply to both modern and traditional buildings.

 

Also shortlisted for an award was Hampstead Cottage by Roger Mears Architects. This project was the refurbishment of a Grade II Listed house and although the listing allowed for more flexibility towards the rigorous building control standards, the architects aimed for a higher level of sustainable fabric upgrading. The STBA Guidance Wheel was used in the initial stages of this project.

 

More . . . 



Image description
Image description

STBA Members' Meeting - February 2019

 

STBA Members, Supporting Organisations and Technical Experts attended the 2019 STBA Advisory Group on 19th February 2019 at our offices in London. We gave an update of our work in 2018 followed by a presentation by Simon Ayers who talked about the Trustmark quality assurance scheme for PAS 2035. PAS 2035 is the specification for the energy retrofit of domestic buildings and is due to be published in May 2019.

 

The second half of the meeting was dedicated to discussions about priorities for the coming year. A summary of what was discussed can be seen on our Past Events page.

 

The presentations are available to download on our Presentations & Articles page.

 

 


Image description
Image description

Whole-House Retrofit – STBA project with Melin Homes

 

The STBA is piloting a large-scale Whole-House retrofit project under the BEIS Building Thermal Efficiency Innovation Fund initiative. Working with Melin Homes, on 30-40 of their traditional houses in Wales, we are developing survey templates and installer training using the Whole-House approach.

 

The initial survey is key to the success of whole-house retrofit; in addition to thermal performance, the survey templates will cover the condition of the building fabric and services, ventilation and indoor air quality as well as context and heritage value.

 

Alongside the electronic surveys, we are developing training for surveyors/assessors. These will form part of a bespoke suite of measures with detailed designs, addressing health and heritage as well as energy use. Following further testing, the process and supporting methodology will be released as a toolkit for industry use across the UK.



Image description
Image description


The Grand Challenge of whole house retrofit

FutureBuild - 5 March, ExCel, London 


The STBA will be chairing a session entitled Whole house retrofit – a worthy ‘grand challenge’  at 15.00-16.10 in the Energy Hub at Future Build. There will be 3 presentations:

  • A Whole House Approach to retrofit as part of the BEIS Thermal Efficiency Innovation Fund - Nigel Griffiths, Director, STBA

  • Best practice retrofit from Ireland’s 10 Million Euro Deep Retrofit programme - Conor Hanniffy, Deep Retrofit Pilot Programme Manager, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland 

  • Scaling up deep retrofit with Energiesprong - Ian Hutchcroft, Market Development, Energiesprong

This session will shine a spotlight on a range of approaches to deep retrofit, considering different building types, and showcase some of the early front runners up for the grand challenge.

More . . . .

Image description
Image description



Welcome to our two new affiliate members - 15:40 & ESC - January 2019

The Environments Study Centre for sustainable buildings provides training and qualifications in subjects primarily focused on the built environment and based on the latest knowledge, developments and best practice. 


The 15:40 Architecture Collective is a group of architects who share a commitment to radically reduce the energy consumption of buildings through a ‘fabric first’ approach. The people involved include two architects on our panel of experts, Bob Prewett & Harry Paticas.


Image description
Image description


Nick Heath lecture at UCL, January 2019



In January, our Associate Technical Director, was invited by UCL to deliver a lecture to the Sustainable Heritage MSc students. Nicks talk, on sustainable retrofit of historic buildings, was part of a session on how historic buildings perform differently to modern ones and how they can be managed sustainably‪. After a skim through the current context of UK retrofit and traditional and historic buildings, Nick took them through the key elements of a holistic, whole-house assessment and design process, ending with links to further tools and reading. 

 

Image description


ASBP Awards shortlist announced

December 2018


The six shortlisted projects for the inaugural ASBP Awards have been announced and we are delighted that two refurbishment projects have been included. Both of these follow the whole-house approach.

 

The awards recognise construction projects which exemplify excellence in sustainability through their products, design and delivery. The first of the retrofits is Bowman’s Lea, a project by one of our panel of experts, Harry Paticas, and demonstrates the use of the whole-house approach to a ‘step-by-step’ retrofit. Whilst this is a 1978 property, the same principles apply to both modern and traditional buildings.

 

The second project is Hampstead Cottage by Roger Mears Architects. This project was the refurbishment of a Grade II Listed house and although the listing allowed for more flexibility towards the rigorous building control standards, the architects aimed for a higher level of sustainable fabric upgrading.

 

The winners will be announced at the ASBP’s Healthy Buildings Conference and Expo which takes place on 28th February 2019 at London South Bank University.

 

More . . .  

 

Image description
Image description
Image description


National Lottery Heritage Fund "We are only Trustees" - November 2018


Ros Kerslake explains how the National Lottery Heritage Fund (previously known as the Heritage Lottery Fund) is leading the way for action on climate change in the heritage sector. They will be sending out a clear message that they expect projects to follow best practice on climate change adaptation and environmental sustainability measures in the same way that they expect them to follow best practice in terms of conservation approaches and evaluation etc.


Ros Kerslake recognises the pioneering work that STBA & SPAB have made in creating guidance for the retrofit old buildings in a way that doesn’t harm their character or performance. She also recognises that some organisations will need support to do this and we are encouraging people to build a closer relationship with Fit for the Future, a network dedicated to helping people and projects to ‘go green’.



More . . . . 



Image description


Neil May - November 2018

 

Our co-founder, Neil May, sadly passed away on 12th November. His passion, knowledge & ability to motivate change will be greatly missed. His legacy of inspiring people to promote a sustainable built environment will continue. 

 

The STBA came into existence in 2011 following Neil’s discussions with other leading organisations – from Sustainability, Heritage and Industry – with concerns about the Green Deal. Neil continued to take an active role in the Alliance until ill health forced him to reduce his workload in 2016.

 

Under Neil May’s leadership in 2012 the STBA won backing from DECC to produce the Responsible Retrofit of Traditional Buildings, a report which built on an initial gap analysis backed by CITB and English Heritage. The report analysed the state of existing knowledge in the retrofit of traditional buildings, identified gaps in many areas of understanding, policy, skills & training, and made a series of recommendations to address these issues.

 

This approach has set the agenda for all our ensuing work, correcting standards where they were inappropriate for traditional buildings, improving policy in this area and providing guidance where it was completely lacking. The report led to significant funding from DECC for the development of an interactive Tool (the Guidance Wheel), and for work on moisture and thermal standards.

 

His work continues to form the basis of much of our work with much of the STBA guidance developed by Neil. And continued discussions on Heritage and Sustainability is based on The Future of the Past. You can download the summary here and the full paper here.



Image description



French version of STBA Guidance Wheel

November 2018


The STBA Guidance Wheel has been adapted to give retrofit guidance for older buildings in France. CREBA (Centre de ressources pour la réhabilitation responsable du bâti ancien) has launched a French version of this on-line retrofit tool, which highlights areas of concern for different types of construction and climatic zones. 


The French government are hoping to repeat the success of the UK where professionals have been using the Guidance Wheel for several years. The on-line tool assists decision making and increases learning about the whole-house approach to retrofit of traditional buildings.

 

The launch of CREBA took place in Bordeaux where our Director, Nigel Griffiths gave a presentation on the use of the Guidance Wheel. Freely available in the UK for some time, the wheel is regularly used by those advising home-owners on retrofit. In addition, those comtemplating retrofit measures for their own home can find useful information on all the aspects to consider to ensure an effective, whole-house approach.


 

La Guidance Wheel can be seen here and you can access the UK version here.


A short video produced by CREBA on their work can be seen here, and a video on the use of the french Guidance Wheel can be seen here

 

Image description
Image description



Practical responses to MEES

26th November 2018, Swindon

 

A workshop for landlords and portfolio managers.


Our Autumn event, held in conjunction with Fit for the Future, analysed the current Minimum Energy Eficiency Standards and looked at how these are being interpreted in practice in the rented sector. Helene Bartos, from BEIS, who joined us for the discussions, adviced on what the regulations mean and listened to the evidence of problems that are being encountered. 

 

In addition to complying with the standards, delegates were keen to hear how to achieve real energy efficiency - which is not always the same thing! Whilst policy continues to rely on achieving an EPC level, the focus of property owners will not be on achieving real thermal comfort and addressing the needs of the building and its occupants.  The event succeeded in identifying the problems and possible solutions that we will use for further dialogue with BEIS.

 

More . . . .

 


Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description


Retrofitting Traditional Buildings - 

1-day training events in 2019 led by Nick Heath


These one-day technical training events are run by STBA Supporting Organisation, The Green Register, and led by STBA Technical Director, Nicholas Heath. Nick covers current issues, solutions and emerging best practice in how to achieve ‘responsible retrofit’ – sustainable, low-energy traditional buildings with retained character, minimal risk to buildings and occupants and real benefits for all.

 

Principles including moisture movement, thermal bridging, building and insulation materials, energy assessments, planning and finance are complemented by practical solutions for domestic buildings, with a focus on solid walls, windows and ventilation as part of a whole-building approach.

 

Dates & Venues and more information are available on the Green Register website.


Image description
Image description
Image description




Improving Energy Efficiency

22 November 2018 at the Engine Shed

 

Historic Environment Scotland 1-day conference, covering principles of traditional building performance, principles for appropriate thermal upgrade and examples from Historic Environment Scotland recent pilot projects.


Our Nigel Griffiths will be one of the speakers at this event in Stirling.


Cost: £54.00 Historic Scotland members, £54.00 Concessions, £60.00 Non-members

 

 

More . . . .

Image description
Image description

STBA & Heritage groups warn government over flawed approach to retrofitting older homes - November 2018

 

The STBA joined together with multiple heritage organisations, - including STBA members the National Trust, IHBC and SPAB - to write to the Government to emphasise that the one-size-fits-all approach to energy efficiency fails to recognise the unique nature of heritage properties.

The letter explains that policy to address the energy efficiency of the nation’s building stock is overly simplistic and designed from the perspective of modern construction and materials, ignoring fundamental building physics, resulting in inappropriate and potentially damaging measures.

 

According to the group, older homes built from traditional materials are being failed by the policy which gives homeowners inaccurate information on the energy efficiency of their properties and signposts them to potentially damaging retrofits. In the letter the organisations jointly ask to meet with Ministers to discuss the right solutions for safeguarding older buildings for future generations and to avoid further mistakes.

 

The conservation coalition writes that current policy to address the energy efficiency of the nation’s building stock is “overly simplistic” and “designed from the perspective of modern construction and materials, ignoring fundamental building physics, such as how traditional materials and structures ‘breathe’, resulting in inappropriate and potentially damaging measures.”

 

Click here for the full letter. 

 

 

Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description

STBA Whole House Retrofit Toolkit - October 2018


The STBA is testing out the “Whole House” approach to retrofit under the BEIS Building Thermal Efficiency Innovation Fund. Working with Melin Homes we plan to carry out works to 30-40 homes in South Wales and we are currently developing the survey templates.

The initial survey is key to the success of effective retrofit; in addition to thermal performance, the whole house survey will of course cover context - including heritage value. It will also include the condition of building fabric and services and an assessment of ventilation and indoor air quality.

Alongside the electronic survey templates, we are developing training for surveyors/assessors and we plan to release the templates and training more widely once they have been fully tested. They may also be shared with the relevant PAS2035 workstreams 





EPCs and the Whole House Approach

October 2018

 

Energy Performance Certificates are used as a tool that BEIS considers key in promoting energy efficiency improvements to buildings. With the increasing use of EPCs in policy it is vital that they reflect a true assessment of all types of buildings. As part of the STBA's ongoing dialogue with the government on building assessment and the whole-house approach, we have responded to the consultation on Energy Performance Certificates which closed on 19th October. Download the STBA response to the EPC consultation here.

 

The EPC is not a substitute for an energy audit and can only be useful as part of an enhanced homeowners’ report for the individual property. This would include assessment of the building type, condition and risk factors as well as a step-by-step retrofit/refurbishment plan – going into the future. 

 

We therefore urge you to read the STBA scoping study, EPCs and the whole-house approach. This report provides an overview of the key issues, constraints and opportunities surrounding EPCs. It identifies ways in which they could be better aligned with the STBA’s ‘whole-house’ approach, recommended in the Each Home Counts report.




Image description



APPG for Healthy Homes & Buildings White Paper

October 2018


The All-party Parliamentary Group for Healthy Homes & Buildings has launched its white paper: Laying the Foundations for Healthy Homes & Buildings. It highlights the need for a holistic approach to building design and renovation as one of the predominant and most urgent actions required by Government.


We are pleased to see, in recommendation 3, a whole house approach to existing buildings: "Making the renovation of current housing stock an infrastructure priority and developing plans for retrofitting that takes a holistic approach to maximising health & wellbeing.”
 
The full document can be downloaded here.





Image description


PAS2030 & PAS2035 and Each Home Counts

October 2018

 

PAS2030 and PAS2035 are due to be published in February 2019. The STBA has contributed to the development of PAS2035 throughout the process, and responded to the recent government consultation - where over 1,000 comments were received.

 

Our comments were minor as, in our view, the standard is of very high quality and needs little amendment before publication, though we would like to have seen a greater emphasis on repair prior to (or in place of) making changes. PAS2035 takes a risk-assessed approach to retrofit projects and traditional buildings will in most cases automatically be placed in the highest risk category, which should ensure that they are assessed by appropriately qualified surveyors. Significance of all traditional buildings (whether or not they have statutory protection) must also be assessed in line with BS7913.

The issue of qualifications is now being resolved and a level 5 diploma for Retrofit Co-ordinators is being developed by the FMB and funded by the CITB.  As most of the recommendations of the Each Home Counts review are now in progress, the EHC Implementation Board has now been disbanded.

 

 

 


PAS2035 & Retrofit Training Pilot

July 2018

 

PAS2035 (specification for the energy retrofit of domestic buildings) is out for public consultation until 19th September) and is due to be published in February 2019. This will form an important part of retrofit going into the future. 

 

The STBA has been involved with PAS2035 to ensure the characteristics of old buildings are considered - and the initial draft will reflect this. However, it is imperative that we all get involved to ensure the end product – and the related training – are fit for purpose and filter down through all the layers of people involved with installing retrofit measures.

 

With appropriate training as a key element to success, the Federation of Master Builders, CITB & GLA are developing a retrofit coordinator course. This will enable contractors to deliver projects that are PAS 2035 compliant and covered by the Each Home Counts Quality Mark. Some of our members will be attending the pilot course in the Autumn. We look forward to their comments so that the STBA can give constructive feedback.

 

Over the next few months, we all have the opportunity to influence the final PAS2035 and related training. The STBA would like to hear your views and feedback as we respond to any areas of concern over the coming months.

 

Peter Rickaby gave a presentation (PAS2035: A new standard for domestic retrofit) at our STBA-SPAB Conference – this can be downloaded here.

 

 

 

Image description
Image description



ECO3 Consultation Outcome 

& the Green Deal Reform Responses

July 2018


The Energy Company Obligation: ECO3, 2018 to 2022 Consultation outcome is now available to download.


Also published is the summary of responses to the call for evidence on the reform of the Green Deal Framework. The summary of responses is available here 

 


Image description
Image description
Image description


EPCs and the Whole House Approach

July 2018

 

The government is seeking views on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) - a tool that BEIS considers key in promoting energy efficiency improvements to buildings. This consultation is open until 19 October 2018. In April 2018 MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard) Regulations came into effect using the EPC as a compliance tool to mandate landlords to meet a minimum energy efficiency standard.

 

There are significant problems with using EPCs as a means of driving the policies for energy efficiency and we have been working with our Patron members, Historic England and the National Trust, to raise with BEIS our concerns and promote the necessary changes.

 

The EPC is not a substitute for an energy audit and can only be useful as part of an enhanced homeowners’ report for the individual property. This would include assessment of the building type, condition and risk factors as well as a step-by-step retrofit/refurbishment plan – going into the future. 

 

We therefore urge you to read the STBA scoping study, EPCs and the whole-house approach. This report provides an overview of the key issues, constraints and opportunities surrounding EPCs. It identifies ways in which they could be better aligned with the STBA’s ‘whole-house’ approach, recommended in the Each Home Counts report.

 



Image description


Whole House Retrofit Toolkit

August 2018



The STBA is delighted to announce a 3-year project to test out the Whole House approach to retrofit, pioneered by the STBA and endorsed by Each Home Counts. This is being carried out under the Government’s Building Thermal Efficiency Innovation.

 

Based on 30-40 properties owned by social housing provider Melin Homes in South Wales, we will commence with detailed surveys of each house - including context and condition - before generating a bespoke programme of measures with detailed designs. These will address health and heritage in addition to energy use. The properties will be monitored for 12 months post retrofit, to check that the measures are working as intended and to ensure adequate indoor air quality.

 

Surveyor training will be developed alongside survey templates and training for installers.  Following further testing with the National Trust and RetrofitWorks, the process & supporting methodology will be released as a toolkit for industry use across the UK.

 

Image description
Image description

 


 

EPCs and wider energy efficiency policy

July 2018

 

STBA’s director Nigel Griffiths joined National Trust, SPAB, CLA and IHBC to meet with Julian Critchlow, Director General, Energy Transformation and Clean Growth at BEIS. This meeting arose from a joint letter in 2017 which raised several issues around EPCs and wider government energy efficiency policy where it fails to consider adequately the particular needs of older buildings.

 

Ingrid Samuel of the National Trust explained the particular challenges they face with a large portfolio of private rented properties now subject to the new MEES regulations. Matt O’Connell of the CLA illustrated how some work which reduces carbon emissions can lead to a worsening of the EPC score, especially for off-gas properties. This underlined the conclusions of the recent paper from the STBA on problems with the EPC methodology (EPCs and the whole-house approach). We also pointed out that the recently launched online Energy Savings Advice Service (ESAS) did not seem to be consistent with the conclusions of the Each Home Counts report, which recommends a whole house approach.

 

Douglas Kent of the SPAB explained the risks of getting retrofit wrong and highlighted how the modelled u-values differ widely from actual measured values, as revealed by their research. He also stressed the importance of retaining the ability of older building fabric to breathe - to accept moisture and for this to be able to evaporate - when considering making any changes to buildings. 

 

Julian Critchley stressed that BEIS is still driven by the need to meet carbon budgets and that they needed a metric - this of course is likely to be carbon; as we know, this ignores many equally important aspects of buildings including human health and heritage - which, properly considered, should be part of a sustainable future. He also alluded to the importance of the government’s fuel poverty targets.

 

The meeting concluded with recognition from BEIS that a forum may be necessary for the detailed knowledge on this topic, held by the heritage sector, to feed into emerging policy.  We proposed that a group be formed with representatives of BEIS and the built heritage sector to facilitate this transfer of information, and BEIS undertook to look into this.



 



The Welsh Government recognizes the difficulties of retrofitting older buildings - July 2018

 

Our sustainability chairman, Peter Draper, joined Jill Fairweather of Cadw and Nigel Griffiths of STBA to meet with representatives of Welsh Government’s Decarbonisation & Energy Division and the Homes & Places team. There was genuine appreciation of the difficulties of retrofitting older buildings and a willingness to consider the evidence presented by the STBA and its members. There was also interest in developing detailed guidance to address the older housing stock in Wales, along the same lines as that which we developed for Bristol in 2015.

 

As we are now commencing our project to deliver “whole house” retrofit to 30-40 homes in South Wales (working with Melin Homes), this is very timely and the results can be used to feed into emerging policy in Wales. Welsh Government representatives pointed out that the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act obliges them to take a more rounded view of changes to the building stock and not to focus entirely on reducing carbon emissions from buildings “in use”. We therefore look forward to working more closely with Welsh Government as the whole house approach is developed.

 

Image description