The social implications of energy efficiency retrofit in large multi-storey tower blocks
High Rise Hope is the first stage of a two part study investigating the social implications of energy efficiency retrofit in large multi-storey tower blocks. It investigates the social impact the works can have on local communities before and during the refurbishment process, with a followup study planned in late 2013.
LSE researchers interviewed residents at the Edward Woods Estate in west London during renovation works which included a major energy efficiency upgrade to investigate the potential social benefits of energy saving retrofit.
There are high levels of deprivation on the estate and prior to the works; many residents were in, or at risk of, fuel poverty. The flats within the tower-blocks showed extreme variations in thermal efficiency and energy bills. Yet residents are positive about the estate and their homes and feel safe living there: years of upgrading and close management have made residents feel good about where they live. The current regeneration works fit into this virtuous cycle. The works were tolerated and most residents were positive about the final outcome. However, many residents thought the regeneration works improved the appearance of the estate, but did not know about the underlying energy efficiency purpose of the investment.
The value of the works, the energy and cost savings, will only be fully realised if residents are made more aware of this purpose and “buy into” the opportunity.
The report shows that there are multiple benefits to energy efficiency retrofit in social housing, especially as neighbourhood renewal and area-targeted social programmes are currently in decline. The retrofit scheme is an exemplar case study for how the Green Deal “whole building” approach can apply to high-rise buildings.
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Click here to download the Executive Summary as .pdf