Skip to main content



The first stage of a pioneering study has been completed on a West London estate that could provide a blueprint for taking millions of UK householders out of fuel poverty, and demonstrates the huge impact the Green Deal could have if it is accompanied by consumer education to help householders cut energy use.
  • - New research by the LSE reveals potential impact energy efficiency improvements can have on community relations and people’s perceptions of quality of life in social housing
  • - Study shows energy bills in identical flats can range from £500 to £2,000 per annum 
  • - Study to provide blueprint for social experiment aiming to find new ways to cut fuel poverty 
The research study, called ‘High Rise Hope,’ conducted by the London School of Economics (LSE) and Rockwool, the stone wool insulation provider, analyses the social impact of greening homes and improving the insulation in residential tower blocks.

The study measured energy costs and social indicators before and during a £16.3m energy efficiency, structural and acoustic upgrade of three tower blocks at the Edward Woods Estate in Shepherds Bush, West London. These included how the improvements have affected: community pride; feelings of safety; noise disturbance; quality of relationships with other residents; fuel poverty levels and energy usage. A follow-up study measuring the impact on residents after the refurbishment is scheduled for late 2013.

The study also measured householder’s use of energy and revealed that residents in virtually identical flats could see utility bills vary from £500 a year to nearly £2,000. The findings will be used to inform a community energy use education initiative to help residents cut utility bills and hopefully provide a blueprint to reduce fuel poverty.

Led by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, the estate upgrade and flagship energy efficiency project aims to achieve reductions in energy consumption and costs. To supplement energy costs and the building upgrades, each block has received solar panels to power lifts and lighting in communal areas and 12 penthouses have been constructed for private sale.

Energy costs are felt acutely by the residents at the estate. It falls within the 12 per cent of the most deprived areas in the country and the number of residents who claim income benefits is double the national average. There are also higher than average levels of unemployment.

Researchers from LSE Housing and Communities found that many residents had paid a significant proportion of their income on heating, with some paying more than £40 a week for gas and electricity. Residents’ bills are expected to be significantly reduced by the energy efficiency improvements and the results will be reported in detail in 2013.

Since the upgrades started, 68 per cent described their home as good or excellent. Two thirds described their quality of life on the estate as good or excellent, and 85 per cent said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the area. Long-term residents talked about how the estate had vastly improved over the years.*

Anne Power, Professor of Social Policy at LSE, the leader of the study, said: "There are also social reasons for doing these works. There is a strong and well-documented link between damp, cold housing and deprivation, which is much more likely to affect people on low incomes. It has been shown that these conditions impact on physical and mental health, as well as children's educational attainment, emotional wellbeing and resilience."

The report adds: "Energy efficiency works, especially exterior insulation, create warmer homes that are cheaper to heat. This is very important from the perspective of fuel poverty. Energy efficiency measures may provide community benefits, through upgrading social amenities in parallel, presenting a much more attractive image of the neighbourhood and better sound proofing.

"Constant management and well managed regeneration have positive effects on the local community. With the recent policy drive to reduce carbon emissions, energy efficiency interventions may become the new vehicle for regeneration at a time when neighbourhood renewal programmes are in decline."

Thomas Heldgaard, Managing Director of ROCKWOOL UK added: “Anecdotal evidence has long suggested that well-thought out whole building energy efficiency refurbishment can have positive effects on local communities well beyond saving money on energy bills. With schemes such as the Green Deal and ECO set to get fully underway next year, we hope this research will demonstrate that energy efficiency is only one of the benefits of greening British homes.

He added “High Rise Hope shows we are on the right track, but the real test will come in 2013 when we go back to the residents to ask them how they have found living with the new measures”


Popular posts from this blog

The Beginners Guide to Pipe Insulation: Flexible Foams

Next up in the series we are doing on pipe insulation is "flexible foams"; a category that includes polyethylene and expanded nitrile rubber.

Polyethylene Pipe Insulation
Climaflex pipe insulation is the UK's leading brand for polyethylene pipe insulation. This is the grey foam that most people are familiar with, the kind you would traditionally find in garden centres for example. Polyethylene is the cheapest, widely available product in the market. People very often wrongly assume cheap means poor quality, this is not the case with a brand such as Climaflex. It has a thermal conductivity of 0.034 W/m.K at 0°C which is broadly equal to that of any other flexible foam, and it also has a much higher "μ factor" than other foams, making it more resistant to moisture ingress. These facotrs make it ideal for use around the home, being easy to work with and providing good insulation. 
The material can be purchased in 1m and 2m lengths, and is available in wall thicknesse…

The Beginners Guide To Pipe Insulation: Getting to grip with the basics

Our Beginners Guide series of blogs will look at the common areas of pipe insulation lagging that you will want to look at when choosing your product. This guide will be of most interest to the DIY installers, but some of our later guides will cover more complex products and areas of application.

One of the things we get asked about a lot is what the dimensions quoted for pipe insulation actually mean. You will always see three measurements quoted when describing pipe insulation; Wall Thickness, Bore Size and Length.

In the below diagram, A is the "Bore" and B is the "Wall".

Wall thickness is very simply how much insulation you have; so for example if you have 13mm Wall pipe insulation, then that means you have 13mm of insulation on either side of your pipe. This thickness is very often one of the most important part of your decision; too thin and you might not get the results you are looking for but too thick and it might not fit between your pipe and the wall.


Frost protection for domestic pipes

With the cold weather approaching we thought it would be a good idea to touch on how best to protect your pipes from frost this winter.

When dealing with frost protection on pipes inside a building your aim with insulating them is to delay the onset of freezing for as long as possible; it is not possible to guarantee a pipe will not freeze by insulation alone. The better the insulation, and the thicker the insulation, the longer you will give yourself. Under normal circumstances you aim to give yourself about 8-10 hours protection against sub zero temperatures. With pipes inside a home this is usually long enough to be sure the pipes will not freeze.

Ice formation inside the pipes will lead to an increase in pressure. As the water tries to flow this pressure will increase, and eventually will lead to the pipes bursting. A burst pipe can cause a lot of problems, not least of which is a lot of damage to your property and a lot of expense incurred.

Water regulations state that all water …