Delivering a first for London's rental sector

Victoria Herring, Director of refurbishment and retrofit on Grosvenor's London estate, explains why we need to invest in sustainably retrofitting London's period properties.

1st April 2015

With 300 acres of prime residential property and 1,500 listed buildings, Grosvenor’s London estate contains some historical and architectural marvels. But for us, looks only go so far. We need to ensure that the historic fabric of the estate is conserved, while delivering homes for our customers that are fit for purpose but also sustainable and a pleasure to inhabit.

At Grosvenor we are aiming to reduce energy usage by 50% across our directly managed London estate portfolio by 2023, to make sure that we’re perfectly placed to meet the Government’s 2050 target of an 80% reduction in emissions. To achieve this, we are refurbishing and retrofitting properties across the estate. On the refurbishment side, we are bringing a property up to date when its lease ends, or renovating a newly purchased property to meet Grosvenor standards. On the retrofit side, it’s about setting the vision for the London estate and inspiring and encouraging the company and our occupiers to achieve greater energy efficiency and sustainability.

For example, at 119 Ebury Street, we are working jointly with English Heritage and Westminster City Council to design a scheme that both protects its historically significant fabric and achieves BREAAM Outstanding. This pilot project is going to be pivotal in helping inform our future approach to reducing environmental impact of our buildings whilst conserving the character of our London estate.

Since we launched the programme two years ago we have made good progress. 300 units have already been retrofitted and we have just retrofitted three properties to EnerPHit Passivhaus energy performance standard. They are the the capital’s first ever rental properties to achieve a globally recognised standard of sustainability and two of them have already been snapped-up.

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These EnerPHit Passivhaus-compliant properties have excellent thermal performance, exceptional airtightness and mechanical ventilation, leading to an 80% reduction in energy usage. This means is that you can live in a period property and have a standard well above new build.  Not only will you have low energy bills (we estimate a saving of £900/year for tenants), you’ll also have high comfort levels. You’ll have nice, clean air and a consistent temperature. You won’t have draughts. All these benefits mean you’ll feel healthier.  The beauty of an EnerPHit Passivhaus home is also, by nature, passive. This means that you don’t have to change your lifestyle to reap the benefits.

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London has a wealth of period homes and lots of people want to live in them. But they also like the comfort of a new build, which is likely to be better insulated, more sound-proof and more energy efficient. Retrofitting period properties to EnerPHit Passivhaus standard is a way to get the best of both worlds. We hope that more developers and individuals will join us and refurbish to this standard.

Read more about 119 Ebury Street here.

Find out more about the EnerPHit Passivhaus property at 11 Passmore Street here.

 

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