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Vokèra, Sharp Construction Ltd, Ore Valley Housing Association and the Scottish Energy Centre join forces to research most efficient way to retrofit block of four flats in Fife

Vokèra, Sharp Construction Ltd, Ore Valley Housing Association and the Scottish Energy Centre, part of Edinburgh Napier University, have joined forces to research the best and most efficient way to retrofit a block of four flats in Lochore, Fife.


The aim of the project is to investigate various methods of refurbishment in multi-dwelling units and understand the benefits to local communities. There are currently 239,000 of these blocks in Scotland with close to 3,000 of them being in Fife.


“Many of these blocks are now derelict and this initiative was launched as a way to investigate refurbishing these homes to help reduce the housing deficit in Scotland, improve communities, particularly ex-mining towns like Lochore and to re-use existing housing stock,” said Julio Bros Williamson from the Scottish Energy Centre. “Sharp Construction and Ore Valley Housing Association approached us to make Rosewell Drive a test project. Most of the blocks in the street were demolished and re-built but one block was left and we drew up a programme of refurbishment.”


The idea was to find out whether it was better for Sharp Construction Scotland Ltd and Ore Valley Housing Association to retrofit, use plot-renewal or build completely new. Plot-renewal was used on the demolished flats and in the one remaining block a retrofit approach was taken.


In each flat in the remaining block different techniques and equipment was used to uncover the best and most energy-efficient solution. Vokèra supplied two different boiler types so the group could test and evaluate the best result.


When Sharp Construction Scotland Ltd started the project the flats were in a dilapidated state and in urgent need of modernisation. As a traditionally built building it combined cavity brick and block walls, a timber roof structure and some insulation was present but it was wet and minimal. Each flat consist of three bedrooms, a kitchen and living room and one separate bathroom.


Using grants from Scottish Enterprise, a feasibility study on the property was carried out to identify the current state of the components. Three main aspects were taken into consideration: C02 emissions, space heating and water heating. Following the initial study, an event was held to invite potential manufacturer partners to donate their expertise, materials and installation advice.  Vokèra was one of those parties that came forward and allowed for a further grant to be obtained so work could take place.


At the heart of each flat is a different Vokèra gas boiler – either a Unica combi or Mynute i system boiler – but in each case this has been combined with various heating, ventilation and renewables equipment. This included under-floor heating, MVHR, solar panels, Vokèra weather compensation controls and Vokèra Fuelsaver (passive flue gas heat recovery - PFGHR).


“We were delighted that Vokèra joined the project,” said Williamson. “We have used one of the company’s boilers in each of the flats. It has been really interesting to see how the buildings have evolved and what impact combining different products can have on the energy efficiency of a building.” 


Before, during and after the installation was completed, readings were taken to assess what impact the new solutions were having on the building. In Scotland the domestic dual fuel consumption is 19,400kWh/yr, which costs homeowners around £1,115 per year but the new retrofitted homes are averaging 5,800kWh/yr, which will cost homeowners £245 per year and offers a massive saving on fuel bills. The full impact of the retrofit project is still being assessed as the first occupants move in and the final results are expected at the end of this year. 




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