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Open-City Green Sky Thinking Roundtable, hosted by ROCKWOOL, agrees new start needed for residential tower blocks

Refurbishing high-rise residential tower blocks could hold the key to creating sustainable homes for the future, according to a group of leading regeneration and building design experts taking part in a debate, hosted by leading energy efficiency solutions provider ROCKWOOL.

The event, held as part of Open-City Green Sky Thinking Week on 16th April 2012, agreed that redeveloping post-war residential tower-blocks is a far more sustainable approach to creating modern homes than the demolition of these buildings.

Speakers argued that targeted refurbishment, using funding from schemes such as the Government’s ECO (Energy Company Obligation), should help reinvent tower blocks as beacons for regeneration within communities.

Speakers at the event were Peter Murray (Chairman at New London Architecture), Hannah Kyrke Smith (Policy Adviser, Green Alliance), Tony Hutchinson (Associate Director, Capita Symonds), Steve Newman (Architecture Director, HTA Architects) and Andrew Corless (Refurbishment and Regeneration Director, ROCKWOOL).

The debate was part of the Open-City, Green Sky Thinking week, which has brought organisations across London together to debate how to create a more sustainable property future for London.

The UK currently has around 3,500 high-rise residential towers and the panel agreed that making them more sustainable required them to be redeveloped as homes that people want to live in. Achieving this requires them to be cost-effective and ‘green’ buildings but also needs a combination of effective security, green spaces, good transport connections and access to shops and community facilities.

Andrew Corless, Refurbishment and Regeneration Director, ROCKWOOL stated: “I believe high-rise residential tower-blocks have a significant role to play in providing good, sustainable homes in cities into the future.

“This Open-City Green Sky Thinking event showed broad consensus among the speakers for reinventing and redeveloping tower blocks– with speakers highlighting that demolition of these post-war buildings is often carbon intensive and expensive.

“Numerous reports and surveys have demonstrated that high-rise tower blocks are popular with residents, the key is ensuring they are energy-efficient, safe and desirable – achieving this will ensure they remain genuinely sustainable buildings that have a positive future in densely populated urban environments.”

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