About the project

The One Planet Sutton eco-retrofit project aims to retrofit three terraced social housing properties with cavity walls using different approaches for each. The upgrades will save the householders money on running costs and hopefully improve their wellbeing too.

The Sutton project is part of a national programme from the government’s Technology Strategy Board which is funding 87 low-carbon social housing projects around the country that have a wide scope for replication. Sutton’s project partnership is made up of BioRegional, Sutton Council, the borough’s social housing delivery organisation – Sutton Housing Partnership and eco-retrofit experts – Parity Projects.

The households will be monitored over two years and the results will inform local and national housing policy. The project is funded through the government’s Retrofit for the Future competition.

The three households:

1) One Planet House – the super eco-house
The renovation will be carried out using the holistic 10 One Planet Living principles framework which covers everything from zero carbon and zero waste to sustainable food and transport. Energy demand in-use will be slashed by 80% compared to the 1990 national average; this will be achieved through floor, wall and loft insulation and by installing new energy efficient appliances and some energy will be supplied by photovoltaic panels and a solar hot water system. Materials with low-embodied energy will be selected for the renovation and the building process will be designed to produce minimal waste alongside an efficient building transport strategy that will reduce emissions.

2) Decent Homes Standard – what are the results from the standard approach?
The second property will meet the Decent Homes Standard, the improved standard that social housing should meet by 2010. The household will benefit from having a boiler upgrade, cavity wall and loft insulation and double glazing installed. Standard materials will be used so that the monitoring can compare results to the higher specification materials chosen for the One Planet House.

3) Control house
No physical measures will be retrofitted to the third house, it will just be monitored to show the effect of the retrofit measures on the other two properties.

Behaviour change – what efficiencies can this approach alone achieve?

All of the three households will work with work with a ‘green coach’ to develop an eco-behaviour change plan. The plan will cover energy efficiency, transport, food, waste, consumer purchasing and more. The behaviour change programme has been designed using community based social marketing theory.

The households were chosen from an open competition along selected streets in the St Helier area of Sutton. The streets selected are made up of terraced social housing properties with cavity walls, this widespread building type makes the results transferable to at least 8,000 properties around the local area and to thousands more across the UK. Renovations will be completed this year and then monitoring will be carried out up until 2013. The results will be captured in a toolkit for Sutton Housing Partnership to use in the future.

The project forms part of One Planet Sutton, a major council-led initiative to promote more sustainable lifestyles, council services and local businesses within the Borough. By 2025, the initiative aims for residents to be able to live within their fair share of the earth’s resources while enjoying a higher quality of living.

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