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Energy efficiency retrofit in large tower blocks


Wilmcote House

In 2012 in partnership with Rockwool, LSE Housing and Communities researchers interviewed residents of the Edward Woods estate in west London between 2011 and 2014 during and after renovation works which included a major energy efficiency upgrade with residents in situ. The first report High Rise Hope was published in 2012. We later returned to the estate when all the upgrading work was complete High Rise Hope Revisited is the second part of the LSE's study at the Edward Woods estate, launched in 2015. The reports examine the social implications of whole building energy efficiency refurbishments in residential tower blocks.

The research was 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.

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.

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