5 Key Takeaways from Our Retrofit Surgery: Design & Ventilation

In our recent Retrofit Surgery, we explored the importance of design and ventilation in retrofit. Phil Partridge, VOR Groups Lead Retrofit Designer, discussed the importance of understanding the building’s physical and structural aspects, the need for detailed planning and specification of proposed Energy Efficiency Measures (EEM), and the integral role of ventilation and thermal bridge modelling. 

Here we share the top 5 key takeaways from our event.

Understanding the property/construction (and condition) is critical as it will impact the specification of any proposed EEM:

Understanding the property’s construction type and current condition forms the bedrock of any retrofit project. This knowledge will influence the type, scale, and design of any proposed EEMs. For instance, an older property might need different considerations and adjustments compared to a newer one, affecting the specification and suitability of proposed EEMs.

Review proposed measures BEFORE design against the above:

The proposed energy efficiency measures should be assessed before design and specification of EEMs. This review should consider the property’s condition and construction type to ensure appropriate measures align with its unique features. This process helps prevent misaligned designs and costly mistakes and maximises the proposed solutions’ efficiency.

Appropriate drawings/spec required for successful design/installation:

The success of the design and installation of EEMs hinges significantly on the quality and precision of the technical drawings and specifications. These documents should provide a clear, detailed, and accurate representation of the proposed solutions, including how they integrate into the existing building and, crucially, with other EEMs proposed. In addition, they serve as the blueprint for installation teams.

A ventilation review is required where ANY fabric measure is proposed. Ventilation upgrades can be stand-alone measures if existing ones are considered inadequate:

Ventilation is critical to consider whenever any fabric measure is proposed in a retrofit. It plays a vital role in ensuring indoor air quality, preventing damp and mould, and providing thermal comfort. If existing ventilation is deemed inadequate, upgrades can be implemented as stand-alone measures, enhancing the overall effectiveness of the retrofit project.

Thermal Bridge modelling is required at junctions between measures and bespoke details (not only needed where using approved construction details):

Thermal bridge modelling is essential in retrofit, especially at the junctions between different measures or bespoke details. These models help to predict thermal bridges, which are areas in a building where heat transfer is typically higher than surrounding areas. This can cause energy inefficiencies and potentially lead to condensation problems.

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