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RIBA Conservation Series - Retrofitting Homes for an Energy Effic

19 September 10:00 - 12:30
Organized by: RIBA London
AluK Design Studio
5-11 Worship Street

Retrofitting old, traditional, historic homes is one of the key challenges for the UK built environment. A holistic approach is required to make these buildings environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

This seminar explores the issues and solutions surrounding home retrofits, adopting a practical approach illustrated by case studies and the latest research.



Carrie Behar is a sustainability professional with a background in Architecture (RIBA Part 2) and environmental design and a PhD in reducing energy demand in the built environment. In her current role, as Senior Sustainability Consultant at Useful Projects, Carrie is involved in setting strategy and influencing change within organisations and on major development projects. In 2011 she carried out a post occupancy evaluation of the Barbican Estate housing, which identified possibilities to improve the energy performance of the estate without compromising its status as an iconic example of post-war architecture and planning. Carrie is also a visiting design tutor and lecturer at the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering.



James Traynor is Managing Director of ECD Architects and is a Certified Passivhaus Designer with over 15 years’ experience in low-energy design. James obtained an MSc in Advanced Energy & Environmental Studies at the Centre for Alternative Technology and is a graduate of the University of Liverpool school of Architecture. He has a particular interest in Post-Occupancy Evaluation as a means of improving building handover issues and addressing the gap between predicted and actual performance. In recent years James has been involved in a number of pioneering projects which address the future of building refurbishment in the UK.  He has created successful partnerships between industry and academia to improve wider learning and is passionately committed to creating attractive, affordable and sustainable environments that meet the long term needs of the building user. 



Robert Prewett is a director at Prewett Bizley architects, where he has pioneered deep retrofit strategies on a wide range of house types.  This research has demonstrated that overall energy reduction of around 80% is achievable alongside architectural and conservation ambitions. Robert is a certified Passivhaus designer and Prewett Bizley is a founding member of the UK Passivhaus Trust. He joined the RIBA Sustainable Futures Group in April 2014 where he hopes to develop the profession’s engagement with responsible retrofit work. He also sits on the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance expert panel, which lead him to co-author guidance on solid wall insulation for Bristol City Council.




Projects Discussed:  

Bloomsbury Townhouse

The Bloomsbury house project took a grade 2 listed townhouse and aimed to combine a deep low energy retrofit approach with best practise conservation principles. As such it aimed to show that conservation of our heritage is not at odds with conservation of our planet. 

Smart House Programme

ECD are currently appointed by London Borough of Haringey as Independent Advisors to provide independent advice to 1,200 private sector homeowners across 6 North London boroughs who are involved in the ‘Smarthomes’ project. This scheme offers Green Deal communities funding to homeowners for a range of eligible retrofit measures designed to provide a ‘whole house retrofit solution’.