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Energy efficiency is a must for all refurbishment projects
28 May 2024

Robinson & Hall’s building and project consultancy team has been busy advising several clients on energy efficiency to be incorporated into refurbishment schemes, particularly bearing in mind the Government’s commitment to reduce carbon and increase efficiency of domestic and commercial buildings. The following case studies are typical of our involvement and the types of properties that make up a large proportion of the country’s building stock.

Commercial refurbishment

When the tenant of our client’s commercial property, located on the Elms Industrial Estate in Bedford, vacated, our client wished to refurbish the property to future proof it and update the property’s offering. Their aim was to also improve the D rated Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to ensure that they could continue to let their property.

The property, which offered a mix of office and warehouse/ manufacturing space, was surveyed and data analysed from service records and the EPC to generate an overview of the current situation, before designing the enhancements.

A draft EPC was produced to determine the quantitative impact of the proposals and a scheme was generated to incorporate the following:

  • Re-roofing to insulate the roof.
  • Additional insulation and refinishing of the vertical cladding elements.
  • Provision of Photovoltaic solar panels.
  • Removal of the gas-fired inefficient central heating system to the office element and replacement with efficient air conditioning for heating and cooling.
  • Insulation of the empty cavities from the original 1960s construction.
  • Installation of LED lighting to the offices together with a raft of modernisation works to provide a top quality, efficient and desirable commercial unit.

The works required planning consent and our in-house planning team prepared the full planning application and saw the application process through to receiving the approval.

We also project managed the construction works which included preparing the detailed specification, managing the tender process and acting as the Contract Administrator and Principal Designer under the CDM 2015 regulations.

David Sawford commented: “We are delighted that our efforts have allowed the rejuvenation of a dated, inefficient D rated commercial unit to an efficient and desirable property, which achieved an EPC rating of B.”

Residential refurbishment


Our clients purchased their dream house near Baldock in early 2022 following our detailed building survey. The attraction of the property was the rural location within a convenient distance of a railway station giving direct access to London. Although the property had some significant issues identified in our report, not least a faulty septic tank system, despite assurances given by the seller of a working system, they then embarked on a scheme of refurbishment over several phases under our project management.


The property is a 5 bedroom ex-farmhouse, mainly constructed in the Victorian period, but with a dilapidated and disused 1970s extension with a linked outbuilding. Firstly, immediate repairs were attended to including a new sewage treatment system. Following discussion on a revamp of the property, a phased scheme was devised to allow our clients to continue to inhabit the building while work was carried out. The house, located in a remote location, had an oil-fired central heating system so the view was taken to introduce energy saving measures during refurbishment. In the second phase, a ground source heat pump and underfloor heating was fitted to the useable living space. This area was fitted with improved floor, wall and ceiling insulation and a combination of internal and external wall insulation. The heat pump installation took advantage of a government grant of £6,000 under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme. The works were completed in December 2022.

The third phase ran from June to December 2023, including full upgrade to the 1970s extension. This area had a new pitched slate roof to complement the main house. Advantage had been taken to install solar PV panels on this roof and linked up to a battery storage system, part supplying the requirements of the heat pump system. To complement the underfloor heating system, we designed and specified a significant thermal upgrade to the dilapidated 1970s extension. The works also included new thermally efficient windows and doors, insulated drylining, replacement ground floors and underfloor heating. It is anticipated that the original EPC ‘E’ rating of the house before work started will now become at least a ‘B’ rating. A more modest refurbishment of the linked outbuilding was also undertaken to provide a garden room and home gym.

Stuart Brown commented: “As the cost of energy continues to grow, we are seeing more people turn to renewable technology to generate their own energy and heat at home. We are pleased to assist our clients in reducing their dependency on fossil fuels.”

EPC legislation has been in statute since 2008 and there has been a progression of more stringent regulations to cajole property owners to do their bit for the Government’s net zero 2050 pledge via the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).

A summary of the current legislation and those expected is detailed below.

The items highlighted in yellow are not yet set into statute and are pending Government announcements.

For advice, please contact David or Stuart.

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