Retrofit training modules

Poor quality design and installation of energy efficiency measures when refurbishing homes can prevent the expected energy and cost savings from being achieved, and increase moisture, air quality and other problems. A series of training videos to raise awareness of key technical refurbishment topics – aimed at surveyors, designers and others involved in domestic refurbishment projects – is now freely available.

With around 15% of carbon emissions being accounted for by 25 million UK homes, domestic energy efficiency measures can help to meet climate change targets, as well as reducing fuel poverty, improving thermal comfort and increasing security of supply.

The government has set a target of improving the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of all homes to Band C by 2035. Policy initiatives to this end include the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which has led to the installation of insulation and heating systems in 1.8 million low-income and vulnerable households.

There has been concern, however, that the standards of design and installation of these energy saving features has often been inadequate, so they may not deliver the expected savings and could increase moisture problems, fire risks and poor air quality. This was a driver behind the Each Home Counts (EHC) Review, which recommends a quality mark and supporting technical codes of practice and standards to cover the design and installation of energy efficiency measures. Key to this is the upskilling and training of those delivering these measures.

A new BRE Domestic Retrofit Training Course consisting of six 20-30 minute modules is now freely available. It has been designed to raise awareness of a number of technical refurbishment topics – moisture awareness, airtightness, exposure, external wall insulation, building physics and unintended consequences. The course is aimed at the two key roles of surveyor and designer, but is also relevant to others involved in domestic refurbishment projects – clients, materials providers, installers, site managers and assessors.

The course is consistent with the EHC review recommendations and the proposed technical direction of PAS 2035 Code of practice for the energy retrofit of buildings (and associated standards), which is now being developed. As well as introducing the key technical issues involved, it provides a first step to further training to become accredited under PAS 2035, which will enable practitioners to display the EHC Quality Mark.

With funding from the BRE Trust, the course material has been prepared by BRE experts and the training modules made available by the BRE Academy at www.bre.ac. Users of the modules are invited to provide feedback on the content and the method of delivery so that they can be improved and developed further.