Climbing the walls to reduce heating loss

Posted on Friday 20th February 2015

Tower Hamlets Homes has taken an imaginative approach to improving the energy efficiency of 17 high and medium rise blocks.

A novel technique was used to insert cavity wall insulation into more than 480 homes quickly and without disrupting residents.

Instead of erecting scaffolding, THH used specialist engineers commissioned by Keepmoat contractors, to abseil down the sides of the buildings.

Steering clear of scaffolding poles and planks, the engineers filled the cavities in the building while suspended from ropes, sometimes 16 storeys or around 50 meters off the ground.

As well as needing a head for heights, the team had to contend with winter weather and wind, to complete the installation.

THH Chief Executive, Gavin Cansfield, said: ‘By using this technique, we didn't need scaffolding up on the tower blocks for weeks on end. The job was done very quickly and quietly, and at the end of each day the engineers could simply pull up the ropes and you wouldn't know anybody had been on site.

‘These works will provide fantastic energy and cost savings but involved a lot less disruption to our residents than traditional methods. Less heat will be lost through the exterior walls and THH will cut our carbon footprint in the process.’

Insulating a 15 storey building using scaffolding would normally take around seven weeks, using abseilers it takes between 5 and 7 days. 

The cavity wall insulation treatment is expected to reduce residents’ energy bills by more than £100 a year and cut carbon emissions annually in Tower Hamlets by 280.423 tonnes.

Crucially, the works caused no inconvenience to residents and the wider community, with tenants set to benefit from these measures at no cost to themselves.

The scheme has been funded by Tower Hamlets Homes, Tower Hamlets Council, and with ECO funding from the energy company EDF Energy.

Keepmoat’s Senior Contract’s Manager, Steve Page, said:

‘Abseiling is a non-intrusive, cost effective way of doing this work. The insulation engineers from Avalon employ specialist techniques to anchor the ropes, using a combination of weighted systems and anchor bolts.

‘All the engineers undergo rigorous training before taking on this kind of work.’

Posted on Friday 20th February 2015