What is a Deep Energy Retrofit?

A deep energy retrofit (DRP) seeks to greatly improve the energy efficiency of an existing house. By using a systems approach to the renovation process and examining the different areas of energy load – appliances, heating, hot water etc – a deep energy retrofit can have a profound impact on the homes energy use of up to 90%.

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In the UK, to qualify for a grant from the SEAI, you are bringing a house with a EPC rating of C3 or lower, up to a rating of A3. Not every house is eligible for this grant.

Planning – The Most Important Step

A deep energy retrofit requires a good deal of planning and a review of all the different aspects of a house’s energy consumption. In the planning phase, heating and cooling of the living space is analysed and the localised seasonal changes are taken into account. Hot water needs are also of primary importance in the functioning of a home along with lighting and electric appliance use.

passive house

Research For Better Planning

Like most things in life, making good, informed decisions is easier with more information. This can be bills showing electricity consumption, blower-door testing or infrared imaging of the house. An investigation of the current building envelop will also show how moisture levels change in different parts of the house or building.

Heating & Moisture Control For Comfort & Performance

A DER usually means big changes to a house to the building envelope as well as upgrading the heating and cooling system. With heating and cooling comes the moisture and ventilation management. Sometimes this means adding perimeter drains to the basement or extractor fans in the kitchen or bathroom and many houses will need an entire rethink of how the house is ventilated.

But a deep energy retrofit doesn’t just stop inside the house. Trees that are too close to the house might have to be removed to encourage the reduction of moisture in the soil at the base of the house, or the installation of a geo thermal system to stabilise house temperature.

Heating & Moisture Control For Comfort & Performance

But a deep energy retrofit doesn’t just stop inside the house. Trees that are too close to the house might have to be removed to encourage the reduction of moisture in the soil at the base of the house, or the installation of a geo thermal system to stabilise house temperature.

Planning Smart

Retrofitting your home often means building work in all of the living spaces so if you want to continue living in your home during the process, careful planning is needed. Think about what you need on a daily basis and those things that you can live without. If possible, it’s best to start from the outside and work in as working on the outside of the house usually means improving the building envelope.

Building the Envelope

The building envelop is the seal or separator between the conditioned inside and the unconditioned outside of a house.

  • Insulating the house foundations.
  • Creating a seal and managing the moisture levels in the house.
  • Adding superinsulation to cavity walls, attics and ceilings.
  • Upgrading of roof materials.
  • Minimising heat loss through doors and windows.

HVAC Systems

  • Systems management.
  • Use of heat-pumps where possible.
  • Ensure cooking area ventilation.

Plumbing

  • Distribute hot water efficiently.
  • Insulate hot water pipes to avoid heat loss.
  • Modernise water heating system.

Lighting

  • Increase natural light.
  • Use energy efficient lighting.

Home Appliances

  • Upgrade electrical appliances to modern models with certified star rating.

Energy Sources

  • Present feasibility of alternative sources of energy like solar PV panels or hot water systems.

If you are looking to have your home deep energy retrofited, the first place to look is the SEAI website for a certified team that are eligible for the grant.

Last Updated on April 11, 2021
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