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Erneley Close

Location: Longsight, Manchester
Completion Status: Completed May 2015 Occupancy: Occupied December 2014
Architect: 2E Architects Consultant: Structural Engineer: Marston and Grundy, Mechanical Engineer: Alan Clarke, Passivhaus Consultant: Eric Parks
Contractor: Casey Group Ltd, Developer: R-Gen Client: One Manchester Housing
Certification: November 2015 Certifier: WARM
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UK Passivhaus Awards 2015 Large Projects Finalist. A regeneration of two dilapidated blocks of flats in one of the poorest parts of Manchester, with EnerPHit as a mechanism for creating a sustainable low carbon community.

The completion of the EnerPHit certified refurbishment at Erneley Close marks the end of a holistic regeneration of a tight enclave of social housing stock owned by One Manchester in one of the most economically deprived areas of the North West. The stock transferred to the housing association from Manchester City Council in 2009, comprised of 32 walk-up flats in two separate maisonette blocks and six cottage style bungalows.

With significant structural failings and thermal bridges created by poor fabric condition, cross floor balconies and walkways, the target of achieving the EnerPHit standard presented a considerable challenge to the developer and design team. The additional challenge from the client was to imaginatively rebrand the stock and the surrounding environment to create a place where people aspired to live.


The initial strategy for thermal modelling and air tightness was dismissed once the poor condition of the inner leaf was revealed. Initially the intention was to retain this leaf and use it as a base to apply the thermal works and air tightness strategy to. Instead, both leafs were removed and a new infill timber frame complete with 300mm of insulation, various air tightness membranes, and services ducts constructed and installed on site. The multitude of air pockets throughout the retained cavity walls were eradicated and the cold bridging from the cross concrete wall structure eliminated.  Thankfully the contractor engaged an air tightness champion from the outset which reduced abortive taping and other remedial measures.

Further challenges included the removal of individual gas boilers and replacement with a separate communal boiler for each block, removal of the communal waste disposal shaft from the upper decks, replacement of the pitched roof with a single ply membrane tri-flex flat roof, creation of new waste recycling and car parking facilities, full internal modernisation, future proofing each flat for television and internet connection from any supplier, and the provision of a new community garden complete with contemporary seating and sun dial feature.

To achieve the imaginative re-brand sought by the client, we opted to clad both blocks in Rockpanel chameleon rain screen panels and specify high performance timber windows supplied by Green Building Store.  The cladding material has been used in other projects to add a variation to other external materials but by completing the whole façade in the panel we have created a visually dynamic building which presents a different perspective depending on the strength of the day light and where people view the buildings from.

Manchester University has recently completed a study on the development and produced an informative guide titled ‘Maximising the Benefits of PassivHaus: A guide to supporting older occupants.’  Given that the majority of residents are elderly and therefore tend to be at home more, we are delighted that the first three months heating bills show an average reduction of 90 per cent. Residents are also delighted with their dramatically reduced bills and eye-catching surroundings.


With its new architectural identity and achievement of the EnerPHit standard, Erneley Close has become a sustainable destination of choice.


Further Information



UK Passivhaus Awards 2015 Presentation

Maximising the Benefits of PassivHaus: A guide to supporting older occupants.

Erneley Close passive house retrofit: resident experiences and building performance in retrofit to passive house standard


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