What is the first step to Retrofit my home?
The first step is to meet up and have a conversation about what your aspirations are for your home, what any existing issues are and what sort of energy expenses you currently have. If you are planning on major refurbishment and home improvements or extension works, then that is a perfect time to get started on retrofit and we can review any design proposals you may have.
It is important to fully understand the building, its current condition, and potential risks prior to starting retrofit works.
We will assess the property from top to bottom and evaluate its construction type, current condition and its suitability for various retrofit improvements. This is mainly a visual inspection and not a structural survey. It can include the use of thermal imaging cameras where appropriate to highlight areas of damp, missing insulation, thermal bridges and points of air ingress, and may require some invasive exploration of walls and floors. We will also measure the flow rates of air extraction in kitchens and bathrooms to understand if your home is adequately ventilated.
It is essential to have an understanding of the materials and construction methods used in a building to be able to advise on appropriate retrofit measures. For older buildings we follow the guidance of BS7913 Guide to the conservation of Historic Buildings.
Damp and moisture build up in homes is common but more often than not, is due to simple issues such as blocked or leaking rainwater goods, external ground levels too high and condensation from daily life with lack of ventilation. We will aim to identify and give solutions to rectify the source of these problems. We will identify the construction of the existing building along with any inappropriate works and use of materials that may have been done in the past that could cause current or future problems.
A full report will be written outlining urgent maintenance items that should be addressed before retrofit work starts, identify easy wins for short term energy reduction and list all measures that will form the retrofit improvement and sequencing including insulation, heating, ventilation strategy and moisture management. The risk of undertaking any retrofit measures is assessed using the PAS 2035 methodology.
If appropriate we can arrange for a blower door test to be undertaken at the same time as our assessment to highlight areas of air infiltration (draughts) and to also give an understanding of just how leaky your home currently is. A door blower test works really well in conjunction with a thermal imaging survey, as this gives a visual indication of location of air leaks.
Retrofit of older homes
We aim to take an approach to retrofit that is sympathetic to the age and construction type of your home. An important part of this is understanding how your home is built and its suitability for different kinds of works. We have a good understanding of what detrimental impact some modern methods of insulating and ‘improvements’ can have on older homes and will advise accordingly. We generally advise using natural vapour open ‘breathable’ materials as these are more suited to the way moisture is managed in older properties.