Prima strives for ‘100% resident satisfaction’ in landmark project

Engineer begins workWork is underway for Kent’s specialist engineers as they join an Anglo-French team working towards ‘Greener Homes for a Brighter Future’.

Prima Service will provide expert upgrades for window units on 98 properties managed by Amicus Horizon, as part of the IFORE (Innovation for Renewal) pilot.

In a unique approach to social housing retrofit, EU-funded IFORE is putting the latest eco-technology in 100 residents’ homes on each side of the English channel.

The  €6.3 million programme runs until March 2014 and sees Amicus Horizon working in partnership with University of Brighton, Artois University (France) and French housing association Pas de Calais Habitat.

Emissions cut of 80%

Solar panels, renewable technologies and a brand new system for external wall insulation are among the practical solutions it’s hoped will reduce the homes’ carbon footprint by 60%.

Residents are also being empowered to learn energy saving skills in their homes to achieve a further 20% reduction, and save money on bills.

Will Chan, Asset Manager, for Prima Service says ensuring window units’ airtightness will be key for his engineers as they work to improve energy efficiency.

“The current PVCu installation is 20 years old and units are failing, so we must work hard to ensure there are no holes in the frames or external trim where hot air can escape,” he explains.

“As with all projects, budget constraints will drive how we prioritise spending to achieve the biggest impact.”

Prima’s primary focus will be on making sure the windows’ hardware is functioning efficiently, glazing will only replaced where the existing component has broken down or misted.

Air pressure tests on the properties will reveal how successful the upgrade has been, as well as new state-of-the-art thermal imaging before and after.

Supporting engagement

With almost a quarter of the planned energy reductions coming from teaching residents to be more energy efficient, community engagement will be key to progress.

“The quality of finish and level of service we provide will play a huge part in achieving the resident satisfaction that is crucial for positive engagement,” said Will.

Many of the residents are elderly and can’t physically clear a workspace by their windows, so the team needs to work with particular care.

“We are taking time to ensure residents understand how the disruption of the works taking place will benefit them in the long run.”

The upgrade project is still in initial stages, but the Prima team hopes to have completed stage one by the end of December 2012.

Says Will: “It’s a real honour to be part of such a groundbreaking project, we’re aiming for 100% satisfaction from residents and our partners, we can’t wait to share the results.”

The universities of Brighton and Artois are monitoring IFORE’s progress and hope this research will provide essential information low carbon improvements for the national housing stock. Visit the IFORE site for updates.  

To read more on the benefits of employing a specialist contractor, visit the Prima Service blog-spot.