Archetype analysis, your key to Wave 2 SHDF funding?

In our second look at securing funding for Wave 2 of SHDF, VOR’s Retrofit Technical Designer StJohn Townsend discusses archetype analysis and how this can help social housing providers with their bids.

Wave 2 of SHDF is now open and BEIS is encouraging providers to be bold and ambitious with bids, and that means understanding your housing stock.

To be successful, social housing providers should be carrying out analysis of homes that are currently below EPC level C by:

  • Ensuring their stock has been surveyed
  • Data has been reviewed to see what measures appropriate and what measures are eligible for Wave 2 SHDF funding.
    • Focus remains on a “Fabric First” approach where measures such as insulation for heat loss prevention are prioritised.
    • Increased funding is available for heat pumps and other “clean heat technologies” but as a phase 2 approach, where the “fabric first” approach was completed under Phase 1.
    • If the existing fabric is sufficient with clear justification that it is, then funding can be granted directly for low carbon heating and Solar PV.

Wave 2 sees almost four times the funding available compared to the first wave and a minimum of 100 social homes below EPC C will be required per bid. This magnifies the importance to social housing owners of large-scale archetype studies.

What is an Archetype Study?

An archetype study is a broad overview of a particular housing stock typically built with the same construction. It is used to identify suitable stock where overall design decisions can be made. There are certain criteria that distinguish an archetype, for example:

  • Dwelling orientation
  • Wall construction
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of wet rooms
  • Glazing percentage per orientation
  • Size of the living room.

With an archetype study, we can take a small number of properties, assess them, and come up with design solutions that suit the worst performing property. By designing for the worst case, we automatically make assumptions for all housing stock. This gives property owners a chance to calculate the costs for their entire housing stock to achieve EPC C or 90kWh/m2/yr heat demand – the minimum requirement.

Archetype studies are an essential and cost-effective way to justify the required amount of funding you need for your housing stock.

How Archetype Studies work

By measuring baseline dwelling performance against prescribed retrofit measure performance, design assumptions can be made for the worst-performing properties in a housing model. Giving property owners a clear understanding of the scale of work and funding required.

With time and financial constraints, it might not be economical for property owners to have thorough SAP modelling done on their entire stock. Instead, by designing for the worst-case archetypes not only can we save time on projects, but also lower the costs involved in the process. By designing for archetypes you get the answer to decarbonising your entire housing stock.

Case study: Fountain Court, Penzance

VOR have recently undertaken an archetype analysis for a 7-storey social- housing block in Penzance. The property was constructed in the late 60’s with the use of precast concrete and blockwork. The Client, Livewest, was seeking to replace the existing Polystyrene External Wall Insulation (EWI) and to achieve an EPC C score for the properties.

The site consists of 22 apartments and the VOR team were able to identify 5 worst-case archetypes to make informed design decisions. These archetypes included:

  1. Ground Floor apartment with solid slab floor
  2. First-Floor apartment above unheated storage
  3. Mid-Floor apartment
  4. Top Floor apartment with solid flat roof
  5. Top Floor two-story maisonette.

By undertaking SAP modelling on these 5 typical apartments, we could understand more about what measures could be applied to all apartments. VOR identified that with the installation of EWI and Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) all apartments would get below the 90kWh/m2/yr SHDF Heat Demand requirement. From this, we could then look at other measures to help achieve an EPC C score.

These 5 archetypes formed a worst-case baseline, however there were a total of 11 archetypes that needed to be assessed in accordance with PAS2035. The additional six archetypes were identified based on orientation, heat loss perimeter size, and adjoining constructions

Through this process VOR was able to minimise the cost and streamline the Retrofit process.

To discuss your project give us a call on 0117 463 7173, drop us an email at