London School of Economics Housing and Communities’ report High Rise Hope Revisited reviews the social implications of a large scale retrofit project which saw energy efficiency measures installed in 754 dwellings across three high rise and several low rise blocks. This sprawling residential estate located across the Hammersmith and Fulham areas of London has high levels of deprivation which coupled with high fuel prices and low thermal efficiency of dwellings (prior to retrofit), put many at risk of fuel poverty. The work began in 2011 and was completed in 2014. It was substantial, encompassing: solar PV, external wall insulation, energy efficient lighting, double glazing in stairwells and gas central heating (in certain dwellings). Most of the retrofit work was carried out whilst the residents were in situ.
The report’s findings emphasise the importance of resident engagement and communication throughout the retrofit process. The research found that despite considerable engagement at the beginning of the project, some residents were unaware that the main aim of the work was to make homes warmer and reduce fuel bills. The report suggested that greater on-going support and education would increase resident’s understanding and reduce frustration surrounding delays. These recommendations support that of the ‘Greening the skyline: The challenges and opportunities of tower block retrofit’ report published by Green Alliance which also highlighted the significance of resident engagement.
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