Wetherby tackles UK’s largest energy efficiency scheme
Wetherby has been integral to Luton Borough Council’s largest ever investment in energy efficiency works for its housing stock, which has seen more than 750 homes in the town thermally upgraded. With the properties spread across 100 streets in Luton, this project was one of the largest geographical areas to undergo energy efficiency improvement works in the UK.
The £7m scheme was part funded through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) programme, with the Luton Borough Council topping up the remainder through its Housing Revenue Account capital programme.
Main contractor Keepmoat worked in partnership with the council’s Building and Technical Services team to carry out the extensive works, which included external wall insulation (EWI), loft insulation and gutter replacements. The 766 properties included in the scheme were spread over two high rise blocks of flats, eight low rise blocks of flats and 460 houses and comprised a mixture of non-traditional construction types including Wimpey No Fines, Trusteel Steel Frame, Crosswall, Laing Easi Form, Quik Build and Trada.
Such a varied mix of property and construction types posed a challenge to source an EWI system that would work for all of the different dwellings in the scheme and so sub-contractors Concordia Construction worked closely with Wetherby Building Systems’ technical team to design an effective solution. Taking each property type on a case-by-case basis, Wetherby was able to supply a bespoke solution for each different housing development.
Wetherby’s EpsiTherm insulation was selected for all houses, with Mineral Fibre installed for the high rise tower blocks to comply with fire regulations. Since the council properties, particularly the houses, were located in areas surrounded by some privately-owned homes, it was important that the exterior facades remained in keeping with the existing neighbouring properties. As a result, a variety of finishes were applied to the two insulation systems including brick slips, silicone render and dry dash.
One of the areas included within the scheme comprised houses of a brickwork construction and planning constraints specified that any works to the external facades needed to retain the brick appearance. In order to achieve a genuine brick look and feel, Wetherby’s EpsiBrick-7 Brick Slip System was installed.
The remaining houses were finished with roughcast pebbledash in a variety of shades to complement each street scene. The high rise tower blocks benefitted from an unrecognisable aesthetic transformation, with 1.5mm silicone K render applied to provide a clean, modern exterior.
In addition to the visual makeover, the EWI works are set to have a significant impact on tenants’ living conditions and dramatically reduce their energy bills, with estimations revealing that households can expect to pay between £150 – £350 less per year. Now recognised as thermally efficient, all properties have been upgraded to at least 0.30 W/m2K U Value following the installation of EWI and comply with current building legislation.
Commenting on the project, Pam Garraway, Luton Borough Council’s Corporate Director for Housing and Community Living, said: “We are absolutely committed to improving the quality of life of all of our tenants and this work has not only made their homes warmer and more comfortable, but it will also reduce their energy bills and give them more money in their pocket.”
Darrell Bailey, Divisional Director for Keepmoat’s Southern region, added: “The residents of these households are now able to benefit from warmer homes with reduced heating costs for years to come. We have been delighted to have this opportunity to work with Building & Technical Services, Luton Borough Council and Luton residents and hope to do so again in the future.”