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British Gas Smart Home Rethinking Housing Refusbishment Projects
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BRE Exemplar Project Partner

BRE Exemplar Project Partner

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, The Dales Collection of 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’ showcases 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.


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 incorporate the 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 to 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.

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.

To find out more about Nationwide Windows, visit: www.nationwidewindows.co.uk

For more information on Smart Home, visit: www.bre.co.uk or www.insidehousing.co.uk

Eurocell helps BRE Rethink Housing Refurbishment

The Building Research Establishment’s (BRE) innovative Rethinking Housing Refurbishment initiative has been boosted by the addition of Eurocell windows.

The programme aims to bring about a step change in the housing agenda by highlighting the contribution that affordable refurbishment of the UK’s exisiting 25 million housing stock has to play in reducing UK carbon emissions and encouraging the construction industry to raise standards of practice.

PVC-U windows, along with composite entrance doors from Eurocell were specified because they were best able to meet the requirements for high levels of thermal efficiency, sustainability and value for money whilst simultaneously offering low maintenance and attractive aesthetics.

Eurocell windows are featured on the initiative’s three exemplar projects in Watford, St. Ives and St. Neots. The Eurocell vertical sliding sash PVC-U profile system, along with The Dales Collection of composite entrance doors, were specified for the refurbishment of the disused Victorian stable block at the centre of the BRE Watford site.

The stable block will be upgraded as an exemplar housing project with an education facility to showcase the latest refurbishment technologies and techniques, including a training centre for top-up courses and knowledge promotion in construction skills and crafts.


The vertical sliding sash windows used on the stable block were supplied and installed by Eurocell fabricator Roseview Windows, based in Olney, Buckinghamshire, and were chosen to retain the character of the original building whilst offering contemporary performance.


Casement windows fabricated using the Eurocell Eurologik system with PVC-U Thermal Inserts, made from 100 per cent recycled PVC-U, were specified for two additional exemplar projects in St Neots and St Ives. The windows were fabricated and installed by Nationwide Windows, a Eurocell fabricator based in Rugby.

The St Ives exemplar in Huntingdonshire involved refurbishment of a 1960s two-bedroom detached property in collaboration with Huntingdonshire District Council and other partners. The aim was to create a 'green' showhome that will encourage local residents to be more energy efficient. The Eurologik frames supplied were fitted with triple glazed units using the latest Saint Gobain Planitherm Total Plus, supplied by Solaglas, to achieve the BRE specified U-value of 0.9Wm²K.

The third exemplar project, Manor Farm Road in St Neots, is a semi-detached three bedroom house, built in the early 1970s. The refurbishment was designed to show how a house from this era can have its emissions reduced through a more limited number of affordable improvements. Here Eurologik frames were fitted with double glazed units using Saint Gobain Planitherm 4S, again from Solaglas, to comfortably achieve the BRE specified U-value of 1.2Wm²K.John O’Brien, Principal Consultant, Refurbishment and Regeneration at the BRE, said: “The range of window profile systems available from Eurocell was able to meet the demanding energy efficiency, low-maintenance and sustainable requirements of Rethinking Housing Refurbishment. The projects have helped to demonstrate that PVC-U is an affordable and effective method as part of a whole house solution of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the UK’s existing housing stock.”

The Rethinking Housing Refurbishment initiative is a vital part of helping reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the UK. That’s because around 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are released each year from the housing stock, with older buildings contributing a disproportionate amount.“Rethinking Housing Refurbishment has helped raise awareness of the fact that there are highly effective and affordable, UK-based double and triple glazed window solutions to combat carbon dioxide emissions from housing stock,” said Steve Brown, Product Manager at Eurocell. “We are delighted that the BRE projects will help raise awareness of the benefits of specifying PVC-U windows and composite doors. Ultimately, the construction industry requires cost-effective solutions to reducing emissions from existing housing stock and no other framing material can match PVC-U in terms of technical performance, sustainability and cost.”

More information on the Rethinking Housing Refurbishment initiative is available from the BRE at: www.rethinkinghousingrefurbishment.co.uk

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