First Choice Homes Oldham uses alsecco’s EWI for award winning regeneration scheme

Winner of the recent Housing Innovation Awards Most Innovative Regeneration category, this scheme, known as BGreen, started as a collaborative partnership between First Choice Homes, Oldham Council, British Gas, NHS Oldham and Forrest. 

A £21m improvement programme was put in place for 1,400 homes owned by First Choice Homes Oldham (FCHO) and owner occupiers to support residents in finding solutions to address deep rooted problems in five estates in Oldham.

First Choice Homes Oldham uses alsecco’s EWI for award winning regeneration scheme

The projects two main aims were firstly to physically improvement 1,400 homes and their surrounding environment and secondly to address concerns linked to community safety and the challenges faced by these communities resulting from years of decline and social isolation.

The programme of retrofit was undertaken over a wide area with varied property types. The innovative approach to retrofit was to give the benefit of EWI in terms of increased insulation values and lower fuel bills and also improve the environment creating a transformational change to the appearance of the neighbourhoods to create a sense of place. The performance required from the EWI system was simple. It had to give the required thermal performance, reduce the risk of condensation in properties and be durable. alsecco’s external wall insulation system was proposed by Forrest to provide the solution.

Approximately 33,000m2 of alsecco’s Basic 1 system has been installed on around 600 homes including houses and flats. The alsecco system with 100mm graphite-enhanced expanded polystyrene core was used to over-clad the existing wall construction to eliminate cold bridging and raise insulation levels to modern standards.  To improve the aesthetics, the design specification was to create a background palette of earthy colours with stronger highlight features around windows.

These highlighted features would be bespoke and create an individual approach against a strategic background material efficiency. It was also important to create dwellings similar to the private sector to overcome institutional appearance and perceptions.

The EWI scheme and environmental masterplan improvements have been transformational in the regeneration of these areas and have met the standard as a model for the next phases. The change from rundown system build housing to highly insulated, low energy homes has been designed to avoid institutional solutions and the result is improved, bespoke solutions within an overall unifying framework which maintains and re-invigorates the sense of neighbourhood and community.

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