52 CHI Homes in Dublin retrofitted in phase one of 'Improving Warmth and Wellbeing' programme

May 31, 2022

As part of phase one of the ‘Improving Warmth and Wellbeing Project’, 52 homes in South Earl Street and Sean MacDermott Street recently underwent retrofitting works. The works involved the installation of new windows, doors, air-to-water heat pumps, increased levels of insulation and the installation of new roofs in order to increase comfort levels for Members.

South Earl Street Apartments, Dublin 8.

Properties are chosen to be upgraded based on their existing Building Energy Rating (BER), the completion of these works has brought all properties from a BER rating of around D/E to a minimum rating of B2.  David McCourt, Head of Assets Management and Property Services says that this change in BER “will see a massive increase in energy efficiency, reduction in the amount of heat loss and increased savings in terms of expenditure on heating for our members.”

Housing Officer for South Earl Street, Mick Hopkins, speaking about the retrofitting project on site in January, told us, “The development was built in 1997. Most of the residents are living there since then. We’re doing these works to increase the BER rating. The SEAI grant covers a lot of the costs which is an investment in windows, doors, and heat pumps, freeing up the repairs budget to focus on other needs in the community.”

Mr Hopkins continued, “The differences Members will see are massive because the windows and heating systems are here since it was built almost 20 years ago, the savings they’ll make in their apartments will be huge and they won't need to have the heating on in areas as much. They won't lose heat through the windows and doors in the same way would have had as well. There are 20 apartments here. There’s not one resident that isn't looking forward to actually having the work done.”

Kingdom Installation Project Manager, Jack Reen, in South Earl Street

When asked about the difference Members will see in their comfort and wellbeing, Jack Reen, Project Manager with Kingdom Installations said:

“The amount of change residents will see is unbelievable. Many of them have mentioned draughts. They have the heat on the whole time. With the energy upgrades that we did yesterday on the first apartment, the lady Esther had to turn off her heating last night. There was that much of a difference from changing out the patio doors and the single back door.

A heat-pump will give you comfort as well. When you come into your house, if you want it at 18 degrees, it will always be at 18. Every day you come into your house, no matter the temperature outside, it’ll be the same temperature in your home.”

Member Emma Dillon expressed her happiness with having the work done, “We're so lucky to get all the work that we’re getting done. It will make a huge difference for the energy efficiency and heating. We can already see the difference we got the back door done last night and they're doing the patio doors today. The difference with the new door this morning was unbelievable. There was no condensation on the new back door. So, it's going to be super for the heating bills and whatnot, but also just generally for my health and for my daughter's health.

“The workmen have been super. Jack knocked on the door yesterday morning just to let us know that it was going to start today. They’ve been very professional and very courteous.”

The final task in the retrofitting process is the replacement of the apartment building’s roof. The workmen put plywood on top of the existing steel roof and then a water-resistant PVC covering over that. This roof should last significantly longer than the previous one, which was only designed to last the 25-30 years it had been in place. The new roof will have a 30–40-year guarantee due to the PVC trocal.

These upgrades are part of CHI’s wider plan to upgrade 216 homes over the next few years in its ‘Improving Warmth and Wellbeing’ project.  The retrofits are made possible through the involvement of specialist project managers, namely Kingdom Installations, and financial support from SEAI and SSE Airtricity, who together provide 50-60% of the funding.

It is planned that CHI commences phase two of the Project in the second half of 2022, which aims to upgrade an additional 50+ homes by the end of the year.

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