Existing Housing and Building Stock
Typically in any one year ‘new build’ adds no more than 1% to 2% to the existing housing stock. Therefore addressing the existing housing / building stock is a major missing piece of the long term sustainable construction jigsaw puzzle.
This project would significantly involve the Council's HECA work, as well as STSD - and it would need to operate in partnership with partner Housing Associations, particularly to improve the sustainability performance of ex-council housing stock. It would also be likely to seek the engagement of local builders, estate agents and other relevant partners. The potential for adopting this as a community economic development programme - similar to that of the well established Wise Group - should certainly be explored.
Refurbishment options such as Exterior Wall Insulation (EWI) should be considered to significantly increase energy efficiency and to keep maintenance costs low. A BRE Good Practice Guide on EWI, researched by ecological architects Gale and Snowden, is due for publication during 2000.
The involvement of one or more private sector partners with a commitment to sustainability issues would be valuable - B&Q, a company with a reputation for a) attempting to significantly increase its environmental and social responsibility, and b) taking a positive and proactive approach to improving supply chain performance, would be an obvious choice to approach.
Known examples of good practice on energy efficiency refurbishments, etc.: Mendip Affordable Warmth project; Newark & Sherwood DC energy efficient refurbishment of Council stock; the Wise Group (Glasgow) for housing refurbishment as a community economic regeneration project. Gale & Snowden architects, and many other established ecological architects, have been involved in a number of good examples of sustainable refurbishment.