We are working with Newport on a major retrofit project of 318 social-rent homes across 10 sites in South Wales. The sites all have existing ‘Easi-form’ housing stock constructed immediately after WWII with uninsulated load bearing concrete walls causing issues with thermal performance and internal condensation build up. We initiated the project with a retrofit first mindset, assessing each site on an individual basis and only proposing rebuild in a few instances where the condition of the block was not suitable for renovation.
The retrofit strategy targets improvements to resident’s private amenity space, with the addition of large south facing balconies, which will also shelter the blocks from excessive solar gain. Landscaping around the blocks will be improved with clearer circulation routes and the definition between public and private spaces demarcated. As part of the landscape strategy, a wide scale sustainable drainage scheme is envisaged with swales, ponds and rainwater gardens all used to hold rainwater on the sites.
The exterior of the blocks will be insulated using natural insulation products, with the existing render removed and the blocks re-clad, windows will also be replaced with triple glazing and the existing attic space will be super-insulated, providing a high performing thermal envelope which benefits residents’ well-being, health and heating bills. On the roof, photovoltaics will be fixed and heat generation will be supplemented through either ground or air source heat pumps.
Stepping inside the blocks, communal corridors will be updated, and refuse and cycling storage will be rationalised. The flats themselves will be altered to provide dual aspect living spaces, with the balconies providing a direct link to the improved landscape. Corridors connecting the living space to the front door will be added to improve the fire strategy and internal doors will be assessed for fire performance.
Our hope is that this tailored retrofit strategy will improve the lives of the residents, the local area and also the wider environment, whilst also preventing tons of unnecessary construction waste from filling up landfill sites.