In comparison with other EU countries such as Germany and Finland, the UK has been relatively slow to embrace the low carbon agenda. This is mainly due to lack of knowledge about the occupier/user of our building stock, the slow response of the industry to deliver low carbon solutions, as well as uncertain strategy from the UK government. By undertaking this project, Rydon has been able to reciprocate these barriers within a ‘workable’ life-like example. Thus, this initiative demonstrates how, through a pragmatic and cost effective approach to retrofitting homes, alongside a stakeholder education programme, we can reduce carbon emissions and energy costs for residents.
The Relish™ approach examines the impact of even the smallest measures, showing how the accumulative effect of adopting good energy habits and ‘low carbon’ works can reduce fuel consumption by 20%.
The Pilot Study: Phase 1
Phase 1 involved comparing various sources of renewable energy technology and works, ranking them in order of maximum impact for carbon and financial savings as well as recognising the importance of communication and education about the benefits and meaning of low carbon living, with household residents. Much of the data we have collected is typical for certain plant, which we obtained from the BRE and the Energy Savings Trust, but we also work closely with organisations such as Green Spec to ensure we are specifying the latest and most appropriate technology from across the construction industry.
The most unique conclusions from this project are twofold:
1. Post-occupancy monitoring- the project did not only rely on SAP calculations to predict the outcomes and energy savings, but a thorough and meaningful post-occupancy monitoring process was undertaken to understand how various technologies and low carbon measures perform in real life. All of our clients can now benefit from our experience and the outcomes we obtained from this research, as we understand the practical implications and considerations needed when approaching various sustainable solutions.
2. Resident engagement– it is important that residents are engaged at the start (with the actual work being undertaken) so that all users can understand the reasons for the chosen solution. If this first step is ensured, then it is possible for a trust to be built up and therefore help to maximise the potential benefits and savings from the works. This ‘buy-in’ particularly from household residents is paramount, because it is unequivocal that people determine how well these technologies perform. Therefore to maximise the performance of the technology and all the funding mechanisms available, all parties will see the cost savings if the entire life cycle of the investment is well managed.
What sets Relish™ apart from other sustainable energy programmes is that everyone can do it – ‘easy to do’ lifestyle changes and simple affordable home improvements really do make a difference to energy bills.