New app compares building efficiency options

Building owners and developers who are interested in improving energy performance will soon be able to use a specially designed app.

BRE, the building research organisation, said last week that it has developed a home refurbishment app in partnership with Scottish developer Cruden.

The app is designed to help users compare energy efficiency options and the associated cost implications.

It incorporates the latest data, following months of monitoring at the Refurbished House located at the BRE Innovation Park in Ravenscraig. This home represents a recreation of the four in a block of which there are 265,000 in Scotland and three million of a similar design in England.

Dr. David Kelly, director of the BRE Innovation Park Network, said that the app will offer new and innovative retrofit solutions which will be of particular interest to those operating within the social housing sector.

The Refurbished House demonstrates a range of innovative retrofit solutions for some of the most energy inefficient homes across Scotland and the UK. The project has enabled a robust assessment on the most cost-effective solutions of fabric upgrades for this building style, for walls, windows, roofs and services, and these state-of-the-art solutions are to be found in this new app, he added.

Allan Callaghan, managing director of Cruden Building and Renewals, commented: With challenging carbon emission reduction targets to meet, and fuel poverty a widespread problem, the UK needs to radically improve the energy performance of its existing homes — and that’s where this app comes in.

The app will allow housing associations and social landlords to easily calculate the benefits of refurbishing their ageing properties to make them more energy efficient, he continued.

The beauty of the app is that it presents quite technical information in a way that is very easy to understand. It can tell a landlord what they need to do to upgrade a property, how much it will cost, and how much money that refurbishment will save in maintenance and running costs. Importantly the app helps the user make maximum benefits to the properties with the minimum disruption to the resident — a huge plus for everyone concerned, Callaghan concluded.

The BRE RetrofitLab app will be available for free download from 20 July 2015.

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