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LSE Housing and Communities Event at Trafford Hall
Housing Plus Think Tank: Energy saving matters – social landlords can lead the way

Wednesday 18th March 2015

With an informal supper and debate from 6.30pm on Tuesday 17th March

Trafford Hall, National Communities Resource Centre, Wimbolds Trafford, Chester CH2 4JP


LSE Housing and Communities, and the National Communities Resource Centre, are hosting an important think tank at Trafford Hall outside Chester on how energy saving improves buildings, brings in rent, tackles climate change, addresses fuel poverty and brings communities together. This Energy Plus event is part of our popular Housing Plus programme which examines the wider role of social landlords in poorer neighbourhoods beyond just providing homes. Our previous think tank on how social landlords can prioritise energy saving in times of austerity concluded that tackling "fabric first", having very simple-to-manage systems and providing ongoing support are key. This event will use live case studies in each session and participants will contribute their experience.

Energy Plus is about helping social landlords and tenants find ways to reduce energy use in homes and buildings to tackle fuel poverty, reduce energy costs and help with rent and other arrears. Many social landlords are leading the field with innovative projects, but sharing experience and promoting what works within the sector is vital. Energy saving is now "a must". Energy supply problems and reducing the ‘heat or eat’ dilemma many tenants face, provide a real incentive for Energy Plus. We want to develop our strong, knowledge exchange network among larger and smaller social landlords across the country to share best practise, learn from mistakes and develop partnerships that really deliver.

Housing Plus is supported by government officials who are keen to learn from the experience of social landlords. We will report on the difference and contribution social landlords can make in low income communities, and the real barriers to delivery and local and national scale.

Outline and Programme

Registration Form

Please RSVP as soon as possible as only 40 places are available.

If you are unable to attend but would like to be part of our Housing Plus network or if you have any questions, contact Nicola Serle, the organiser of Housing Plus, at or 020 7955 6684.

News Posted: 20 February 2015      [Back to the Top]

Good Times, Bad Times, Hard Times
Live Debate from the RSA (19th February 2015) - Video now available

Have we fully comprehended the human cost of the recession?

Watch the Video

The economic recession may be over, but the aftermath is a policy of austerity stretching out for as far as the eye can see - with grave implications for the welfare state. The Left complains that the bills run up by the bankers are being paid by the poor, while the Right claims to be rebalancing the scales against shirkers and in favour of strivers.

Director of the LSE's Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, Professor John Hills revives the original argument for social security as way of smoothing everyone's path between cradle and grave - something important for the middling majority, as well as the impoverished few.

He joins Guardian journalist and author Tom Clark, who has uncovered how the cuts are scarring poor communities, not only in terms of material hardship, but also the psychological damage caused by poverty. He will explain how feedback from the "war on welfare" is now disadvantaging workers as well as the unemployed, in a labour market where jobs are again plentiful, but where security and fulfilment remain in short supply.

Speakers: Professor John Hills, director, LSE's Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion; Tom Clark, Guardian journalist and author

Chair: Anthony Painter, director of Institutional Reform, RSA

News Posted: 19 February 2015      [Back to the Top]

LSE Housing and Communities - in the news
High rise estates can work if they are made energy efficient, says new LSE report

Residents of a high rise estate in West London experienced a significant improvement in their quality of life following energy efficiency refurbishments, according to new LSE research.

LSE Housing and Communities, in partnership with Rockwool, launched High Rise Hope Revisited on February 12 2015, a new report examining the social implications of whole building energy efficiency refurbishments in residential tower blocks.

Based on research conducted at the Edward Woods estate in Shepherds Bush, London, the report finds that upgrading work carried out across 754 flats in three 23-storey tower blocks has enhanced the quality of life and living conditions for residents, with aesthetic improvements instilling a sense of pride within the community.

The Edwards Woods estate scheme was led and managed by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, who commissioned Energy Conscious Design (ECD) Architects and the building contractors Breyer for the project which began in 2011. Ambitious and complex in nature, it has primarily involved remedial work on the concrete building structure, external cladding of the blocks with Rockwool's External Wall insulation system and the installation of solar panels to provide 82,000 kWh of electricity annually for lifts and communal lighting. The scheme was used as a model case study for how the Green Deal and Community Energy Saving Partnership (CESP) 'whole building' approach would work in high-rise, socially rented estates.

High Rise Hope Revisited is the second part of the LSE's study at the Edward Woods estate. In 2012, an initial report, High Rise Hope, interviewed residents during the renovation works. Following this research, LSE returned to the estate when all the upgrading work was complete to highlight lessons learned and assess the social and community impact of transforming a 1960s local authority housing estate into a landmark, high rise model of social housing.

Among the most significant lessons learned from the project was the importance of communication with residents. High Rise Hope Revisited recommends regular community updates are necessary to ensure tenants feel part and informed of improvement works. In addition to initial consultations, the report suggests more ongoing support helps to improve wider understanding of the objectives of regeneration, and to explain any delays that occur. The residents of Edward Woods, who were also concerned about the removal of visible staff presence during the project, cited better management of the works as their overriding suggestion for improvement.

LSE's key findings in the second report, High Rise Hope Revisited, demonstrate that, "Overall, residents value living on the estate. Residents on the Edward Woods estate like their homes, they find their flats comfortable and have a generally high quality of life." The research also states that, "residents are positive about the estate and their homes and generally feel safe living there." In fact, "78% now describe their quality of life in their home as good or excellent, compared with 68% in 2011, showing a marked improvement," and "people are generally proud to live on the estate, with many saying this had improved since the regeneration. Residents overwhelmingly say they enjoy living there."

"Edward Woods has a fascinating history because it is a large, concrete, high-rise, council-owned estate, housing a very low income community in 23 storey tower blocks and maisonettes in a very busy part of West London," says Professor Anne Power, LSE Housing and Communities. "It is popular, well managed, attractive and fully occupied. It shows that with careful on-site management, high-rise estates can work, if they are also made energy efficient. This is crucial so that residents can pay their rent, meet basic costs and escape fuel poverty."

This article was published on the LSE website

Read the the full report, HIGH RISE HOPE REVISITED: The social implications of upgrading the energy efficiency of large estates, and the executive summary.

News Posted: 16 February 2015      [Back to the Top]

LSE Housing and Communities Event
High Rise Hope Revisited


report cover


The social implications of upgrading the energy efficiency of large estates

Thursday 12th February 2015, 5:00pm - 6:30pm;
Followed by a reception and networking 6:30pm - 7:30pm.

Refreshments will be served from 4.30pm

Venue: 32L 1.04, 1st Floor Conference Room, London School of Economics, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH

Campus Map; Nearest tube station: Holborn

RSVP to by 6th February.

For more information about the research or the event contact or



In 2012 the London School for Economics and ROCKWOOL published High Rise Hope, a path-breaking investigation into the social impact of whole building energy efficiency refurbishments in residential tower blocks.

Following this research, LSE Housing and Communities went back to the Edward Woods estate in Shepherd's Bush, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, to re-interview residents once the upgrading work was complete. High Rise Hope Revisited highlights lessons learned and the potential social and community impact from transforming a 1960s local authority housing estate into a landmark retrofitted high rise model of social housing. The project provides many invaluable lessons for large-scale energy efficiency schemes showing how energy saving can help take millions of people out of fuel poverty, if accompanied by support and advice to help tenants cut energy use.

Key findings included:

  • Addressing issues of fuel poverty and energy efficient improvements to the existing housing stock

  • Improving quality of life and conditions in individual homes and wider estates and neighbourhoods

  • Making people feel proud of the aesthetic improvements to their area and general upgrade - people feel their area compares well with others
Join us on the 12th February 2015 at the London School of Economics to discuss findings and lessons learned. A range of key industry figures will also be presenting on a selection of related topics around social housing, with an opportunity to network.


  • Why retrofitting high-rise makes sense
    Sunand Prasad, Senior Partner Penoyre & Prasad LLP and ex-President of RIBA

  • Edward Woods estate: what can social landlords do
    Darren Snaith, Director of Refurbishment and Regeneration, ROCKWOOL UK

  • High Rise Hope Revisited: what residents tell us about their community and the experience of major reinvestment, what the lessons hold for the future
    Professor Anne Power, London School of Economics

  • The long term gains of retrofitting the Edward Woods estate
    London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham

  • Retrofit issues in social housing
    Andrew Eagles, Managing Director, Sustainable Homes

  • Wilmcote House: What Portsmouth City Council hopes to achieve
    Steve Groves, Repairs & Maintenance Manager, Portsmouth City Council
For more information, see Rockwool's website:

News Posted: 30 January 2015      [Back to the Top]

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