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Ground-breaking housing project in line for top eco award

An innovative project that is breaking new ground in home insulation and reducing carbon emissions has been nominated for a top eco award.

The First Ark Group, which includes Knowsley Housing Trust, has completed what is believed to be the first multi-foil insulation work to a row of three terraced homes in Lordens Road, Huyton.

The project has now been shortlisted in the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards 2012, in the WWF Green Game-Changers Innovation of the Year category.

First Ark is one of only a few housing organisations nominated against primarily private companies.

Ian Thomson, Executive Director of Asset Management at First Ark, said:  “This is a completely new method that has not been tried out before.

“That it has already been recognised in these awards is a testament to the hard work and ingenuity of our team and our contractors – and shows we are on the right track with our approach.”

Multi foil insulation has been developed to replace large thick insulation materials, but this project is believed to be the first time it has been used in this type of housing refurbishment.

A protective film has been fitted around the external walls and roof rafters – the two largest heat loss surfaces – of the three properties, treating them as a single building.

The multi foil insulation stops warm air escaping, improving insulation and air tightness. Fresh air is let in through a mechanical ventilation heat recovery system.

As air is stopped from escaping, 90 per cent of heat can be recovered from outgoing air, meaning only 10 per cent of air in the home needs to be heated up.

Manufacturer YBS Insulation used its own Super Quilt Multifoil Insulation in the project, which is the market leader and the highest performing multifoil insulation blanket on the market.

First Ark decided to take this innovative approach to reduce carbon emissions from KHT properties and to save tenants money on heating their homes – helping tackle fuel poverty.

“We have got to keep striving forward and looking for new solutions if we are to drive down our tenants’ bills and help reach the UK carbon emission reduction target of 80 per cent by 2050,” said Ian.

“This is just one of the unique and ground-breaking projects in First Ark’s wide-ranging green agenda, focusing on changing the way people use energy and making sure our homes are as energy efficient as possible.”

As the work was carried out to the outside of the properties, the tenants were able to remain in their homes with minimal disruption while it was carried out.

The work has been followed up with advice to tenants on saving energy around the home to help them get the full benefits of the scheme.

First Ark has funded the £98,000 project and it is hoped it can be rolled out on a larger scale.

Brian Young Managing Director of BYA, architects on the project, said: “In addition to the fuel saving and carbon reduction benefits, the project has the added value of enhancing its surroundings with an attractive combination of the various external cladding materials available with the system, helping in the rejuvenation of the estate.”

Edna Foster, 73, has lived in one of the properties for seven years. She said: “The project is fantastic. The quality of work has been great and I am looking forward to the benefits it will bring.”

The winners in the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards 2012 will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony on July 4 at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington.

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