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Eco-Renovation for Builders

1st December, 5:00 pm12th December, 12:00 pm

Unique course brings together theory and practical experience, it digs into how to apply building physics to the messy reality of retrofit.

“The strength of this course is [course tutor] Nick’s depth of experience. You learn from the problems he has solved.” Tim, Joiner.

With growing demand for householder green refurbishment, this high quality online course is designed for small-scale building firms, contractors and sole traders.

Run by experienced retrofit contractor Nick Parsons, across four sessions (and a COVID-safe practical in person session if possible), will help bridge knowledge gaps, understand materials limitations, respect airtightness and consider risks.

You may have experience of solid wall insulation or low carbon M&E works and want to extend your services, or you may want to underpin practical knowledge with theory.

Who for

This course is for sole traders, micro businesses, site managers at small firms who work on any building projects of which Part L applies.

Significant discounts apply for contractors who work in the Greater Manchester area.

The course focuses on the fabric aspects of work and therefore most relevant to general builders, joiners and those interested in becoming retrofit specialists.

Architects and consultants keen to understand retrofit from the contractor perspective and householders who are competent/keen DIY-ers may also find it useful.

Dates and Times

Online sessions:

  • Tuesday 1st December, 5 – 6.30pm
  • Thursday 3rd December, 5 – 6.30pm
  • Tuesday 8th December, 5 – 6.30pm
  • Thursday 10th December, 5 – 6.30pm

Practical session:

  • Saturday 12th December10am – 12.00 noon

This will be a covid safe session in Islington Mill, Salford. Places are limited and available on a first come first serve basis.

Attendees must complete all online sessions to receive a certificate of attendance.


Standard ticket – £79

Discounted ticket for Greater Manchester based Building Contractors – £19

Course Content

Session 1 – Understanding retrofit, the drivers and approaches

  • Drivers for retrofit
  • Base-line surveys and assessment
  • Key Metrics and Measurements
  • Taking a Whole House Approach
  • Incremental retrofit

By the end of this session, participants will be able to…

  • Identify the key drivers for retrofit clients and projects,
  • Identify ‘suitable’ retrofit candidates,
  • Recognise the need for a base-line energy assessment and a whole-house plan,
  • Understand the challenges of ‘incremental’ retrofit,
  • Identify key principles of the ‘whole house’ approach in fabric improvements: thermal bridging, thermal bypass, airtightness and moisture management,
  • Understand the importance of a ventilation strategy in a retrofitted home,
  • Awareness of impact of fabric improvements on sizing of heating systems.


Session 2 – Taking airtightness seriously

  • Heat-loss through air-leakage
  • Air-tightness in retrofit
  • Ventilation, where and why it is necessary

By the end of this session, participants will be able to…

  • Recognise common air-leakage points in buildings,
  • Understand how to measure airtightness,
  • Understand which products are available to achieve high levels of airtightness,
  • Understand how to minimise air-leakage around common areas,
  • Understand where ventilation is necessary and how to balance heat loss with ventilation needs.


Session 3 – Doing insulation well

  • Fabric heat-loss
  • U values
  • Explore insulation options for walls, roofs and ground floors
  • Thermal bridging and by-pass

By the end of this session, participants will be able to…

  • Establish the usefulness of U values as a tool for assessing building performance,
  • Recognise ‘Lambda’, Resistance (R) and U values,
  • Recognise ‘vapour-permeable’ and ‘vapour-control’ methods of insulation,
  • State Building Regulations target U values for retrofit and extensions,
  • State the relative advantages and disadvantages of various insulation methods and materials,
  • Understand what is meant by thermal bridging and thermal bypass,
  • Recognise and overcome practical and detailing problems in insulating rooms in the roof,
  • Recognise the insulation options available for (particularly solid) walls.


Session 4 – Considerations and Standards for Retrofit

  • Baseline assessment and target setting
  • Building Regs: Part B (Fire), Part C (Moisture), Part F(Ventilation), Part J (Fuel Burning Appliances – link to ventilation), Part P (Electrics)
  • PAS 2030 and PAS2035: process, documentation and ‘risk based’ approach
  • Other building standards: AECB Building Standard, Passive House and EnerPHit, Carbon Coop ‘Zero Carbon Ready’ approach, STBA, NZEB

By the end of this session, participants will…

  • Understand of key standards and performance targets as applied to retrofit,
  • Understand the application and limitations of Part L in retrofit,
  • Have an awareness of the implications of other Building Regs for retrofit,
  • Have an awareness of of PAS2035 and PAS2030,
  • Have an awareness of other potentially relevant building standards.


Session 5 – Practical ‘onsite’ session

  • Demonstration of managing airtightness in loft eaves
  • Demonstration of dealing with tricky junctions in Internal Wall Insulation and External Wall Insulation
  • Handle and apply specialist materials including: airtightness products, wood fibre insulation, EPS insulation, lime rendering, lime plastering.

By the end of this session, participants will…

  • Gain practical experience of using specialist materials to install airtightness and insulation measures on walls, roofs and floor/ceiling junctions.

Course Tutor

Nick Parsons

“Nick is a fountain of retrofit knowledge.” – course participant 2019

Nick has a wealth of experience in energy-efficient sustainable building and renewable energy having worked in the industry for 25 years. Nick is the lead tutor on the Eco-Refurbishment course at the Centre for Alternative Technology. For 10 years from 2000 – 2010 he ran a community-sector project in Sheffield promoting and demonstrating all aspects of sustainable building, based in an eco-refurbished terraced house, before going freelance in December 2010.

This course is run by People Powered Retrofit, a Greater Manchester-based home retrofit service.


1st December, 5:00 pm
12th December, 12:00 pm
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