Back to the 2024 Shortlist Sustainability


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Disc 21


Location: Knaphill Woking

Brick Manufacturer: Wienerberger Limited

Brick Name: Chartham Multi Eco-brick

Architect: Wienerberger Architectural Services

Brickwork Contractor: Wienerberger Limited

About the project

Wienerberger’s Renatus project stands as a beacon of innovation and sustainability in the construction industry. Addressing the critical need for energy-efficient retrofitting of the UK’s aging housing stock, the Renatus initiative exemplifies how thoughtful design, cutting-edge technology, and a commitment to sustainability can transform inefficient properties into models of modern, eco-friendly living.

Project Overview: The Renatus project, developed in collaboration with ThamesWey Group, focuses on the retrofitting of two semi-detached bungalows in Woking. These properties, previously rated EPC E and F, suffered from high energy costs and poor insulation. Through a comprehensive, fabric-first approach, Wienerberger implemented a series of sustainable upgrades, resulting in a dramatic improvement in energy efficiency and a significant reduction in carbon emissions.

Sustainable Design and Construction: Central to the Renatus project is the use of Wienerberger’s innovative building solutions:

  • Porotherm Cellular Clay Block: Replacing traditional concrete blockwork, these blocks reduce the carbon footprint while providing excellent thermal performance.
  • EcoBrick Technology: These 65mm-wide bricks allow for thinner walls, creating wider cavities for additional insulation, thus improving the U-Value of the property.
  • High-Performance Glazing Systems: Combined with EcoBricks, these systems create a robust external skin, enhancing the thermal efficiency of the buildings.

Incorporation of Sustainable Technologies: Wienerberger integrated various sustainable technologies to further enhance the energy efficiency of the refurbished properties:

  • In-Roof Solar PV Systems: These systems, complete with 3KW battery storage and inverters, enable the properties to generate and store their own renewable energy.
  • Air Permeable Membranes: BPD membranes were used in ceilings and floors to improve air quality and reduce energy loss.
  • Moisture Sensitive Ventilation Systems: PassiVent I-PhEV systems ensure optimal air quality while maintaining energy efficiency.
  • Rainwater Harvesting Systems: Each property was equipped with a 15,000-litre tank, promoting greywater recycling and reducing water consumption.
  • Air Source Heat Pumps and Underfloor Heating: Pipe Life’s systems provide efficient heating solutions that further reduce the carbon footprint of the properties.

Biodiversity and External Works: To enhance the environmental impact of the project, extensive external works were undertaken:

  • Wild Planting: This initiative increased local biodiversity and improved the aesthetic appeal of the properties.
  • Sustainable Landscaping: Thoughtful landscaping further contributed to the environmental goals of the project.

Results and Impact: The transformation achieved through the Renatus project is remarkable:

  • Energy Efficiency: The properties now boast EPC ratings of A and B, a significant improvement from their previous ratings.
  • Cost Savings: Annual heating bills have been drastically reduced from nearly £2000 to a fraction of that amount.
  • Carbon Reduction: The sustainable upgrades have led to substantial reductions in carbon emissions, aligning with the UK’s Net Zero Strategy.

Client Testimonial: “Dealing with one company who offered the solution we needed took away the stress from dealing with multiple suppliers. Renatus is a concept that streamlines the retrofit process and is a cost-effective way of improving the homes of our tenants. We couldn’t find this offer from any other manufacturer. The final product looks stunning and we can’t wait to work on future projects with Wienerberger.” - Jerry Sims, Head of Construction, ThamesWey

Conclusion: The Renatus project by Wienerberger exemplifies the potential of sustainable construction to not only reduce carbon emissions but also improve living standards. By integrating advanced building materials and sustainable technologies, Wienerberger has set a new benchmark in energy-efficient retrofitting. The Renatus initiative is a testament to Wienerberger’s commitment to creating a greener, more sustainable future for the UK’s housing stock. This project truly deserves recognition for its outstanding contribution to sustainability in the construction industry.

Sponsored by Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC

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As Britain’s Brick Specialists, Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC unites the best in clay traditions. The Group represents seven of the most recognised premium brands across the UK and Europe: Blockleys, Carlton, Charnwood,, Freshfield Lane, Hathern Terra Cotta and Michelmersh, producing over 125 million handmade and machine-made clay bricks and pavers annually. Using modernised production methods that emphasise sustainable building solutions and adhere to the most stringent production requirements, Michelmersh guarantees high quality product standards with a low ecological footprint.

Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC