Archive September 2019
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One of the huge challenges facing social housing providers is the need to reduce fuel poverty amongst tenants, particularly in thermally inefficient, older properties. Much has been done to improve energy efficiency across the social housing asset base, but energy saving measures are only part of the solution to driving down bills and enhancing comfort. These should be combined with a fabric first approach to improving properties’ thermal performance, with heat retention in winter and resistance to solar gain in summer ensuring a comfortable indoor environment all year round. By specifying natural materials, housing associations can ensure that these improvements avoid the risk of secondary issues, such as condensation and mould, thereby reducing maintenance, extending the property’s service life and supporting tenant wellbeing.
Fabric first is a design philosophy that looks holistically at every aspect of the building envelope in terms of its thermal performance and ability to prevent energy wastage due to draughts and air leakage. It champions combinations of materials that will maximise a property’s service life and enhance comfort and wellbeing for the occupier.