Innovation for Renewal

  • McEvoy, Mike (PI)
  • Gloriant, François (CoPI)
  • Lassue, Stephane (CoI)
  • Sdei, Arianna (CoI)

Project Details


Innovation for Renewal (IFORE) was a Franco-British project, co-funded by the European Union Interreg programme, for sustainable retrofitting of social housing.

The aim of the IFORE programme 2011-2014 was to incorporate technologies within social housing in France and the UK that will quarter energy consumption. The €6.3 million project was 50% funded by the Interreg IVA ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), which will continue until 2014.

Co-ordinated by project leader Professor Mike McEvoy at the University of Brighton, the initial project was a large-scale experiment involving 100 homes on each side of the English Channel.

The findings from these 200 properties would then guide the future retrofit of 10,000 homes, as well as influence national policies in both countries. In the UK, the site of Rushenden (Isle of Sheppey, Kent) was chosen by AmicusHorizon and the town of Outreau , close to Boulogne-sur-mer, by Pas-de-Calais habitat.

The aim of the IFORE project was to harmonise both the technical and human aspects of innovation in eco-retrofitting. State-of-the-art low energy solutions are being developed using computer simulations by researchers. At the same time, the housing
associations will mutually develop effective ways to involve communities in carbon reduction initiatives.

IFORE was a uniquely large-scale retrofit, allowing the relative performance of a variety of occupancies to be compared. It is a vanguard project for the large-scale retrofits to follow once the Green Deal is underway.

The Anglo French IFORE project, officially launched in July 2010, was developed by four partner organisations : two housing associations, Pas-de-Calais habitat (based in Arras, France) and AmicusHorizon (Kent), and two universities: lead partner, University of Brighton and Université d’Artois in Béthune.

The unique qualities of the project were:
> A quarter of the planned energy reductions were made by teaching residents to be more energy efficient.
> Community work is a big part of the project ;
> Behavioural knowledge and technical innovations was shared by both housing associations.

This research aimed to provide essential information on energy use in the home and how low carbon improvements can be made.

The Steering Committee's role was to disseminate the IFORE project and its learnings:

UK MEMBERS- Jon Bird (Energy Efficiency Development Officer, Dorset County Council)- Brian Horton (Strategic Housing Adviser, Kent County Council)- Paul Hackett (CEO, AmicusHorizon)- Paul Crouch (Board Member, AmicusHorizon)- Chris Blincoe / Fergus Rolfe / Matt Temple (ADAPT Low Carbon Group, University of East Anglia)- Doe Fitzsimmons (Environment Group, Devon County Council)

FRANCE MEMBERS- Fabrice Crépin (Deputy General Manager, Pas-de-Calais habitat)- Audrey Mayer (Innovation Manager, Pas-de-Calais habitat)- Hervé Caux (Côte d'Opale & Audomarois Region Manager) - Jean-Michel Stecowiat (General Manager, Pas-de-Calais habitat)- Jean-Claude Etienne (Board Member, Pas-de-Calais habitat, Councillor of Pas-de-Calais)- Jacques Mellick (Board Member, Pas-de-Calais habitat, Councillor of Béthune)- Olivier Danna (President of the National Building Federation, Lens Region)- Mareille Dhainaut (ADEME Nord-Pas-de-Calais)- Thérèse Guilbert (MP & Mayor of Outreau)- Alain Tambour (Project Coordinator of ECOFAB)- Bernard Marette (General Manager, Habitat 76)- Cédric Lefebvre (Development Manager, Habitat 76). 

Key findings

The importance of occupants' behaviour in the success of energy performance policies and projects is more and more recognised. In an energy saving retrofitting project like IFORE, it was therefore essential to get residents to agree to the project’s aims and make them their own.

As social housing tenants are more liable to move out and be replaced by new residents, it was essential that this involvement was extended to the community. Both housing associations in the IFORE project developed awareness-raising strategies in order to achieve this goal including the Green Doctor and its French adaptation, the Energy Ambassador; the Energy Champions scheme and the Focus group strategy.

IFORE was a collaborative venture between the housing associations and two unvversities, building science researchers at the Université d’Artois, architects and social scientists at the University of Brighton. Their collaboration enabled a variety of data to be investigated.

At the outset of the project the use of different computer simulation tools, and the different regulations governing the process of retrofit in the two countries, were researched. The computer simulations were used in the first instance to evaluate different specifications for the building works and their relative merits in terms of payback periods. Alternative monitoring methods have been implemented to measure energy consumption before and after retrofit, and the levels of comfort that have been achieved, as compared with those predicted by the simulations.

A particular shared interest of the academic teams was the important issue of ventilation. Making houses more air-tight to cut down on draughts and wasted energy is a conventional approach for retrofit projects. Too often however this results in poor indoor air quality with implications for condensation, mould growth and the health of occupants.

The technology of ‘supply air’ windows has been researched by both universities and is an example of the innovative approaches that have emerged from IFORE. Also, the Université d’Artois has long experience in the design and analysis of ‘trombe walls’ - a passive solar technology that provides free heat to homes. As a result a trombe wall was built and is currently under test at Manor Close in Rushenden.

In both countries sociologists worked at analysing the questionnaires that were completed by each household within the project. In France, a system has been developed that will enable better understanding of the energy needs and circumstances of particular types of occupancy. In England, changing habits in relation to energy use have been identified particularly in relation to the use of appliances, for example, lowering the temperature of washing machines, and not putting televisions on stand-by. Although technologies requiring little user interaction such as solar panels on roofs were quickly accepted, others that needed more engagement such as the AlertMe and Wattbox heating controls were more difficult to embrace.

See pdf downloads for full documentation.
Effective start/end date1/07/1031/08/14


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