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15 November 2016 No Comment

This blog uses a recent refurbishment project, that we were involved in as part of an ongoing programme to investigate the effect of refurbishment of buildings using steel technology, to detail how refurbishment can reduce costs by reducing energy loss through the fabric of the building.

This project involved an upgrade of an industrial warehouse’s building envelope. The renovation needed was twofold. Dating back to the 1960s, the aesthetics and general condition of the building was very poor, and the fibre cement cladding contained asbestos that required removal to avoid harmful impact on occupants. Furthermore, with the current building envelope leading to increased energy use, CO2 emissions and associated operating costs, the building owner identified an opportunity to improve the general performance of the building. To meet these needs, a full strip and re-sheet refurbishment with a built-up steel cladding system was carried out along with an upgrade to the building services.

Prior to the refurbishment, a full analysis of the existing building was carried out including an air pressure test and assessment of the fabric U values.

The existing building

These tables  above summarise the cladding and service performance, prior to refurbishment.

Based on this data a full analysis of the building performance was carried out using dynamic simulation modelling software (IES) which indicated a total energy requirement of approximately 300kWh/m2/year and a CO2 emission rate greater than 80kgCO2/m2/year. .

Further calculations were carried out in IES to determine the potential energy savings following improvements to the building fabric and services of each element of the refurbishment. These included the roof, walls, rooflights, and access doors fabric U values, air-tightness, lighting and heating. These are summarised in the tables below.

Potential energy savings for each element refurbished



Due to the age of the building and the very poor initial U values, enhancement of the fabric insulation gave the greatest benefits. The benefits of air-tightness are most significant once the fabric heat losses have been reduced to a manageable level.


This refurbishment followed current practices and the refurbished building had an achievable CO2 emission rate of approximately 17.5kgCO2/m2/year. This compares favourably with a 2013 Part L compliant building which would have a target emission rate in the region of 15kgCO2/m2/year.


Energy and cost savings

Based on National Calculation Methodology occupancy conditions, and current energy costs, a breakdown of the operating cost savings of the refurbished building was carried out. This is summarised in the table below.


Refurbishment saves 75% energy consumption

As well as dramatically improving the overall appearance and longevity of the building by using Colorcoat® pre-finished steel products, the refurbishment has facilitated a 75% reduction in energy consumption, a 75% (625 tonnes) reduction in CO2 emissions, and a 75% reduction in associated operating costs. As a result, the refurbishment delivers an annual cost saving of approximately £130,000 when operated according to the conditions specified in the National Calculation Methodology (NCM). This means that the warehouse now has a better EPD rating so can receive a potentially higher rental income and is eligible for a higher rate FIT (feed-in tariff) if photovoltaics are fitted in the future.


Post refurbishment assessment – how could the refurbishment have been improved?

Our post refurbishment analysis of the project highlighted a number of further improvements that could have been carried out. Using a high reflectivity internal liner product, such as Colorcoat® High Reflect pre-finished steel, with a minimal additional cost initially, could reduce light energy requirements by a further 10% and achieve yearly savings of around £1,500. There were also several thermal cold bridges associated with the original construction and poor installation practices which could be designed out. Plus, alternative rooflights with a lower U value could have been specified at minimal additional cost or significant reduction in light transmission. With minimal additional budget and improved specification, the renovated building could have achieved even better results with regard to energy and cost savings.


For more information on the products mentioned or to see how Tata Steel can help you with your next project, you can request a call back or make an enquiry. Alternatively, call the Colorcoat Connection® helpline on 01244 892 434

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