The Connexus: Warmer Homes Project, which is part funded by ERDF, will achieve deep energy and carbon reductions in 132 homes that it owns and manages in Shropshire and Herefordshire.

The project will be using a design approach called the Passivhaus Planning Package (PHPP) that creates a modelled pathway for each home to achieve, where practicable, an energy saving of up to 90% over the next 20 to 30 years.

Over the lifetime of the project (up until Dec 2021), a range of capital measures will be specified and installed. Whilst the specifics are pending the PHPP modelling process it is envisaged that the project will enable:

  • External wall insulation in 132 homes.
  • Smart heating controls in 80 homes.
  • Optimum heating system in 80 homes.

The use of PHPP on this scale will familiarise key Connexus staff with what it can contribute to unlocking a deep retrofit process. Energy saving opportunities through behavioural change by householders will also be identified. The project will also help strengthen cross-sector collaboration and supply chain development, especially in the low carbon sector.

In addition, it will create a pool of 132 low carbon demonstrator homes with the potential to help inform and stimulate wider activity in a variety of markets including:

  • Connexus’ 10,500 homes
  • Amongst other social housing providers
  • Local Authorities
  • Health care sectors
  • The private rental sector
  • The able-to-pay market

PHPP provides a whole house approach to domestic retrofitting. It is an evidence-led, scientifically robust, international low energy design methodology capable of generating reductions in carbon and energy use of up to 90%. It builds on Connexus’ recent work in using PHPP for a Passivhaus development of 12 new homes in Shropshire, where running costs for heating are expected to be 75% lower than a standard new build. This will be the first time Connexus, or any other rural Housing Association, has tried such an ambitious retrofit approach on such a scale in the UK.

Key to PHPP is the special consideration given to the detailing of windows, floors, doors, junctions, airtightness, ventilation, orientation to the sun, shading and heating systems, aspects which are often overlooked in the current domestic retrofit design process. Starting from the position of the home, rather than from that of a specific product or process, PHPP gives a much more accurate and nuanced assessment of how deep cuts in energy and carbon can be achieved, whilst also ensuring that the home remains healthy, ie that it can continue to breath and issues of mould and damp don’t inadvertently arise as a result of changes made to the building’s fabric.