- Who are the Retro-Tek properties intended for?
In general, anyone who wants to live in a more sustainable home - However the properties are aimed at the following groups of people:
- Families who are currently living in unsuitable accommodation
- Single people / couples who are living in unsuitable accommodation
- Ex-service personnel and their families
- Recent graduates
- Key Workers
- Over 60’s
- Venerable groups
- What would be the typical sustainable features of the properties?
Retro-Tek have set a minimum standard for sustainability for the whole house, but typical upgrades would include the following:
- The insulation in the walls, floor and roof
- Energy efficient heating with modern user friendly controls
- Solar panels to provide electricity and hot water
- Energy Efficient lighting
- What other improvements will be made to the properties?
Depending on time and budgets the properties will be designed with the end user (owner / tenant) in mind. Therefore each property will vary enormously, but the intention is to provide the end user with the following where applicable:
- Home office space
- Recycling facilities
- Downstairs toilets
- Cycle storage
- Garden rooms
- Landscape gardens
- Multi-function spaces (spare bedroom, IT space, hobby room, play room)
- Off street parking
- Disabled access facilities (Ramps, bathrooms, stair lifts, tactile surfacing)
- Fitted kitchen
- New bathrooms
- Fire and intruder alarms
- IT access
- Why not build new houses?
Some properties will be new build, where the existing property was in such a poor condition, that there is no alternative but to demolition and start again. However the time frame for new builds will be much longer. This is part of the reason behind retro-fitting existing properties. Retro-fitting existing properties can be much quicker than building new. This is not only because the fabric of the building is already in place, but also the associated facilities such power and water are also in place.
Furthermore wider facilities such as schools, libraries, bus routes and shops are already close by so less time needs to be spent on how these facilities are to be accessed.
- How will Retro-Tek meet the demands of the end user, and why does this need to be done?
We believe at Retro-Tek that truly sustainable housing needs to meet the requirements of end-user. If we set out to achieve this, we believe that the end user will gain more satisfaction from the Retro-Tek home, than from living in a house that compromises on its facilities and internal fit out. This will be achieved by offering the end user choices in the both design and procurement process.
- How can this be cost effective?
The Retro-Tek team have developed a toolkit to refine the process of retro-fitting a house which in the future will be developed into a web based application. The toolkit has been developed to make process more cost effective by reducing the amount of labour and the cost of materials used during the refurbishment.
The process also aims to make savings by the number of properties it envisaged will be retro-fitted simply by the economies of scale. Also we aim to use as many of the energy efficiency and empty homes grants that are available to further offset the costs. The end user simply gets a better quality home for the price or rent with lower energy bills.
- How will a web based software application help the process?
The web based application is currently under development. However it is envisaged that the application will provide all parties involved with a database of all the information required for retro-fitting houses.
This will include some of the design tools required to find the best and most cost effective way to improve the properties energy efficiency; an information database supplying information relating to; materials, suppliers and contractors; drawings; pro-forma documentation to carryout surveys, and contract information.
- How do Retro-Tek intend to develop the software application?
Firstly by working in partnership with all stakeholders. Retro-Tek intention is to work as a social enterprise or a not for profit company, where all stakeholders have a symbiotic relationship. Secondly whilst the web based application is being developed running in parallel will be a pilot scheme to test the toolkit on a number of different houses to provide the web based application with primary data.
- What grants are available to help with the cost the Retro-fit?
The Renewable Heat Incentive, The Feed in Tariff and the Green Deal are the main sustainable grants available. Additional grants are available from the Government including Disabled Facilities Grants, Empty Homes Assistance Grants.
- How are Retro-Tek going to get hold of the properties?
Once again this will happen by Retro-Tek working closely with the empty home owners and the local authority to provide a solution to getting the property back into use with the current owner. This could include the empty property owner retaining ownership of the property with an agreement in place that RSL takes over the management and nomination rights.