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Eco-Renovation for Builders Online – March 2021

2nd March, 5:30 pm13th March, 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 session ), this course 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

This is a four part course and all parts must be taken together. The practical session is an additional session with limited space. Places are given on a first come first serve basis.

Online sessions:

  • Tuesday 2nd March, 5.30 – 7pm
  • Thursday 4th March, 5.30 – 7pm
  • Tuesday 9th March, 5.30 – 7pm
  • Thursday 11th March, 5.30 – 7pm

Practical session:

  • Saturday 13th March 10am – 12.00 noon

This will be a covid safe practical session in Islington Mill, Salford. Numbers are limited and those working as contractors in Greater Manchester will be prioritised for places. Please select the ‘Register your interest in practical session’ ticket when booking alongside a standard or discounted ticket. A video recording of the session will be available for those that cannot attend.

Attendees must complete all online sessions including end of session quizzes to receive a certificate of attendance.


Standard ticket – £35

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 – Insulation – walls and roofs

  • Fabric heat-loss
  • R, K and U values
  • Explore insulation options for walls, roofs

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,
  • Recognise the insulation options available for (particularly solid) walls
  • State the relative advantages and disadvantages of various insulation methods and materials,
  • Recognise and overcome practical and detailing problems in insulating rooms in the roof,


Session 4 – Insulation – floors, windows and doors; thermal bridging and thermal by-pass

  • Insulating ground floors
  • Selecting and installing doors and windows
  • Identifying and understanding thermal bridging and by-pass

By the end of this session, participants will…

  • State the relative advantages and disadvantages of various floor insulation methods and materials
  • Understand statutory requirements re windows and doors
  • Understand how to minimise peripheral heat-loss when installing windows and doors
  • Understand what is meant by thermal bridging and thermal bypass


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.


2nd March, 5:30 pm
13th March, 12:00 pm
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