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: