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Paul Rainger
Paul Rainger
Dr Paul Rainger is Head of the Sustainable Bristol City-Region projects at Forum for the Future, the UK's independent sustainable development experts. Former Head of Farm Animal Welfare at WSPA, Director of Campaigns for the UK Liberal Democrats, and a research astronomer.


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Retrofit Central

Feb. 17, 2012 7:25 am

Bristol could be fast-becoming the retrofitting capital of the UK. Already home to

Bristol Green Doors


Refit West’s

whole-house refurbishment scheme, retrofitting in the city has just received another boost with projects in the city securing cash from the government’s Local Energy Assessment Fund (



One of the recipients is Future Fit Bristol, a project being run by the Knowle West Media Centre, re:work and Tree of Life offering the local community the opportunity to have up to half a day with a qualified local builder installing energy saving measures in the house.

The Bedminster Energy Group also received funding form LEAF, and Easton Energy Group and Transition Montpelier will be working with their local communities to find ways to make their homes more energy efficient.

Bristol Green Doors has teamed up with a group of residents in St Andrews to pilot external wall insulation on a Victorian terrace of four homes. According to the Government, some 7 million homes require some form of solid wall insulation, with the Committee on Climate Change recommending that 2.3 million homes with solid wall need insulating by 2022 if the UK is to meet its carbon reduction targets. Needless to say, we’re not quite there yet.

What makes the St Andrews project unusual is that all four of the properties are privately owned (three owner-occupied, one let as flats) with the four property owners co-operating to ensure the work is more effective. Tackling the four houses together avoids breaks in the insulation, which could lead to heat loss, and retains the terrace’s visual character. Fitting external insulation on terraced housing is not in itself new, but most projects to date have been carried out by social landlords.

The St Andrews householders are being asked to monitor their energy use before and after the insulation has been fitted to see how much money and how much carbon is saved. The project will also monitor temperature to see how much difference the external cladding makes to the comfort of the home.

Bristol’s Georgian and Victorian terraces are one of the distinctive features of the city – but while this architectural heritage might add to Bristol’s character, it also means many of us have chilly homes. So learning a few lessons about how to insulate these buildings could be good news.

The St Andrews terrace will be on show as part of Bristol Green Doors open homes weekend on 17-18th March when forty homes across the city will be open to the public, showcasing a range of energy efficiency measures, from low-cost draught-proofing to complete retrofits.

And there's also the chance to find out more about making your home warmer by dropping in at the Create centre's WARM exhibtion, including a large scale model of a Victorian house on show until 8 March.

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