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As work progresses on the refurbishment and super-insulation of three 11 storey social housing blocks at Wilmcote House in Portsmouth, ROCKWOOL has revealed preliminary findings from resident research carried out by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) as part of the project.

These early results demonstrate the urgent need for renovation at Wilmcote House to address concerns with fuel poverty, energy leakage and tenant health and also endorse the positive community engagement practised by Portsmouth City Council on the project.

The Council’s whole building refurbishment of the 107 maisonettes at Wilmcote House, a building originally constructed in 1968, will dramatically improve residents’ standard of living, increase comfort levels and reduce fuel costs. The project involves the deep retrofit and installation of multiple insulation measures, including ROCKWOOL external wall insulation. Lead architects for the project, ECD, target that on completion of works, Wilmcote House will reach the rigorous EnerPHit standard, the retrofit equivalent of Passivhaus.

ROCKWOOL is working closely in partnership with the LSE to record and assess the social outcomes of this project. As work takes place whilst the building is still occupied, Wilmcote House residents have been comprehensively consulted on the refurbishment proposals via a series of resident open days and feedback sessions, with their views on the project monitored by LSE researchers over its duration. Preliminary LSE findings from a sample of 15 interviewees show that:

• 66% think the temperature in their home is not enough to be comfortable, citing issues with damp, mould, condensation, inefficient and expensive heating and cold draughts.
• 66% are suffering from, or have a family member affected by health problems which worsen in cold and damp conditions.
• 53% are affected by fuel poverty with 87% falling within the lower end of income distribution (less than £20,000 per annum).
• Portsmouth City Council’s community engagement strategy is well received. 66% feel they have been informed well on progress so far, while 80% believe their views have been taken on board. 73% agree that they are engaged with the project and understand the benefits that they can expect from the renovation.

ROCKWOOL has produced a video on the early research findings based on an interview with Professor Anne Power at LSE Housing and Communities who is leading the research project. To view the video, please click here

ECD, have devised an effective retrofit strategy to super-insulate the residential parts of the block based on a combination of several ROCKWOOL insulation products and systems, including ROCKPANEL cladding façade system, a combination of REDArt® External Wall (EWI) systems, Flat Roof system and a selection of the company’s Firestopping and Fire Protection products.

The aim of the Wilmcote House renovation is to lower the demand for heating within the dwellings by 90% and extend the building’s life by a minimum of 30 years as a result of the improvements. Refurbishment is taking place over a two year period, with completion expected in January 2017.


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