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11-Storey EnerPHit Project Breaks Ground in Portsmouth

August 26, 2014


Thirty six years ahead of schedule Wilmcote House retrofit project started on site this month. The deep-green refurbishment project designed to meet the EnerPHit standard will deliver 111 homes that meet UK Government carbon reduction targets for 2050. Selected by the Passivhaus institute as the UK case study in the EuroPHit project which aims for an energy revolution in the refurbishment of existing buildings it will result in energy savings of approximately 90%.

The 11 storey building is owned and managed by Portsmouth City Council and the massive energy savings will address the serious fuel poverty issues experienced by residents many of whom are unable to adequately heat their homes. The project will also resolve the ongoing maintenance issues with the building and create a new thermal envelope which effectively insulates residents against future energy price rises and significantly extends the lifespan of the building.

Ongoing maintenance issues with the building had led Portsmouth City Council to consider demolition; however given the scale of relocation costs it quickly became clear that refurbishment was the only practical and cost effective solution. ECD Architects were therefore appointed in 2012 to investigate options for over-cladding and refurbishment. The team quickly identified the potential for a deep-green long-term solution and proved the long term financial payback (15 years) against standard over-cladding measures. Keepmoat was appointed as contractor in January 2014 and the works are programmed to complete by October 2016 with ongoing monitoring thereafter. The intensive nature of the works has required very careful coordination to minimise disruption for existing residents.

Portsmouth City Council are partnering with research organisations including LSE (funded by Rockwool); Southampton University and Portsmouth University to monitor the building and understand the significant benefits (including health, social and financial) arising from this level of refurbishment.