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Case Studies

Smart home

Working together with Nationwide Windows and British Gas.

BRE Exemplar Project Partner Eurocell and its approved fabricator Nationwide Windows have worked with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and British Gas to refurbish Smart Home in Garston, Watford.

Eurocell windows, composite doors and BBA-Approved Aspect bi-fold doors were specified for the refurbishment as they provide high levels of thermal efficiency, sustainability and value for money.

The refurbished ‘House of the Future’ will showcase latest products and technologies with the aim of helping households to reduce energy consumption through sustainable refurbishment.

Calculations indicate that the replacement Eurocell windows and doors will provide greater air tightness than the existing timber windows as well as improving U values. The refurbishment aims to improve the three-bedroom home’s energy efficiency from an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of ‘E’ to a ‘B’ or an ‘A’.

Smart Home, formerly the Integer House (which stands for Intelligent and Green), will be used as a reference point by many housing associations, local authorities and architects.  The building has already informed a generation of house designers as far as China, and will inspire the next generation of housing experts.

The existing timber casement windows were replaced with casement and tilt & turn versions fabricated and installed by Rugby-based Nationwide Windows, using the Eurocell Eurologik profile system. All new windows will incorporate Eurocell PVC-U Thermal Inserts to improve the frames thermal performance and, being made from 100% post-consumer recycled PVC-U, provide a sustainable method of dealing with end-of-life PVC-U frames from refurbishment projects. Eurocell operates the UK’s largest post-consumer PVC-U recycling facility near its headquarters in Derbyshire.

Volunteers are being invited to live in Integer House for up to two weeks at a time to provide feedback on its energy efficiency, running costs and overall comfort. Other sustainable technologies incorporated into the refurbishment include extra insulation, air source heat pump, integrated solar photovoltaics and smart lighting and heating controls.

BRE will work with British Gas, a partner on the project, to use the data from Smart Home to better understand how to apply technology into other homes to make them more efficient and lower cost to run.

John O’Brien, Principal Consultant, BRE, said: “With the changes to the Building Regulations over the last 15 years, improved air tightness for windows and doors has been assisted by advances in frame and glazing technology.  Smart Home will highlight how refurbishing existing buildings can be an affordable and a highly effective way of reducing energy bills and improving comfort for residents.”

As a BRE Exemplar Partner, Eurocell was involved in the Rethinking Housing Refurbishment programme. This featured Eurocell windows and composite entrance doors on projects in Watford, St. Ives and St. Neots, with the aim of by highlighting the contribution that affordable refurbishment can make on the UK’s existing housing stock.

“We are delighted to be chosen by BRE to help refurbish Integer House,” said Chris Coxon, Head of Marketing at Eurocell. “Our windows and doors were able to meet the stringent demands for energy efficiency and sustainability required for the ‘House of the Future’.”

Integer House featured on the BBC’s House of the Future when it was originally built in 1998. Refurbishment of the property was completed in September 2013.

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