MG 7579A refurbishment project for two maisonette blocks at Erneley Close, Longsight, has been given a remarkable facelift to the area, whilst providing equally dramatic energy savings for residents.

The blocks have been refurbished to the Passivhaus EnerPhit standard. The term Passivhaus refers to an advanced low energy construction standard for buildings that provides excellent health and comfort conditions being both cool in summer and warm in winter with minimal heating or cooling requirements.


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Passivhaus buildings provide a plentiful supply of fresh air internally to ensure low C02 levels whatever the season, and to provide perfect air humidity levels for healthy conditions all year round. They are basically airtight, but provide excellent ventilation without wasting heat, and without cold draughts. Ventilation is achieved by a low-energy heat recovery ventilation system which uses outgoing warm air to heat the incoming cooler air. The extremely low energy consumption of such properties often results in cost savings to the occupier of more than 90% per year compared to ordinary buildings.

The Casey Group Ltd, have just completed this ambitious project for Eastlands Homes with developer R-Gen. Designed by Edelmann and Ebling, together with Passivhaus Designer Eric Parks, this is the largest such project to be undertaken so far in the UK.

The scheme included all the EnerPhit standard works and complete internal refurbishment to 32 maisonettes (in 2 blocks), plus works to an additional 6 bungalows along with associated hard and soft landscaping for the whole scheme and a bespoke, community led, public realm area.

Bringing the maisonettes to EnerPhit standard involved extensive airtightness works, an internal envelope upgrade, extensive external insulation and cladding, high performance windows and doors, insulation of all solid floors and the installation of a mechanical ventilation heat recovery system.

This project was a difficult one. The maisonette blocks have external horizontal walkways, balconies and vertical piers, all of which have a massive effect on thermal performance. And with a retrofit, you never know what you are going to find once work starts. Various structural issues came to light as the project began, requiring re-design and re-modelling.

The structures were old, voids could not be seen, were difficult to find and hard to fill. The work involved lots of experimentation, and despite all the maisonettes being the same type and layout, measures that worked on one property did not necessarily work in the next. Casey took some very innovative approaches and developed ground breaking techniques.

Excellent results were achieved by having a specialist team and an Air Tightness Champion based on site.

The most noticeable, and a really interesting, feature of this scheme externally is the fa├žade which is the Chameleon Rainscreen cladding. This unique product is finished with a crystal layer which, depending on the angle from which it is viewed and the effect of the light, appears to dramatically change colour.