It’s cost over £16m to renovate the tower blocks on Hammersmith BC’s Edward Woods estate in Shepherds Bush, West London. They are now far more energy efficient and the flats are cosier and less costly to run for the tenants.

The cost wasn’t only to make them easier and cheaper to heat, it also included major structural repairs to the concrete frame and the brick cladding, as well as internal and external decoration, plus the construction of 12 private penthouse flats. The latter will probably be a significant attraction for young professional?

Built in the late 1960s when high rise living was one important solution to our then drab housing and burgeoning population, the Edward Woods modern improvements are a fine example of what can be achieved for the comfort and lower running costs of those people who are happy to live above three-storeys.

They are a fine model of how high rise homes must continue as an important ingredient of UK housing strategy for many years to come in order to meet demographic demand.

The Edward Woods project is highlighted in a major London School of Economics study, headed up by Professor Ann Power. Partly key to the projects success and efficiency is retrofitting Rockwool insulation both internally and externally.

In the introduction to an outline report, Thomas Heldgard of Rockwool UK, says Edward Woods was ‘a useful model’ for a ‘new approach’. Refurbishment work had seen the blocks receive high-grade external wall, cavity wall and roof insulation. There are also coloured facades and integrated photovoltaic panels.

As Heldgard pointed out: “Tailored combination of measures should lead to more cheaper to run and comfortable homes for the residents.”

Apparently, Green Deal and other energy efficiency schemes has provided the funding and impetus for refurbishing tower blocks to boost energy efficiency. And the potential for these refurbishments to act as a tool for the regeneration of communities adds an additional element was helping to create a lasting legacy.

This is especially apposite as there are an estimated 3,500 residential towers similar to Edward Woods in the UK that can be retrofitted to a high standard to provide appropriate housing for many, many years to come.

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