Renovation trains

Speaking of retrofitting Holland, there’s a fascinating paper in the new BRI, New energy retrofit concept: ‘renovation trains’ for mass housing, that looks at mass-scale retrofitting in the Netherlands (as opposed to Holland, Michigan). Here’s the relevant blurb from the abstract (emphasis added):

A pilot project exploring this strategy has been completed in Kerkrade, the Netherlands. Several innovations were introduced, tested and refined for the renovation of 150 houses: a serial retrofit process, a renovation time of ten days per house with the houses inhabited during the process, and responsibility for energy performance assigned to the construction team. The construction process is a ‘renovation train’ moving from one house to the next. The experiences are now being used and developed for a follow-up project: a new concept can be used to scale up the process from 100 to 10 000 renovations a year.

The paper is open access (at least for the moment) so go check it out. Alternatively, here’s a video showing how it works:

Not only is the speed of the renovations impressive, but I think the aesthetics are pretty good too (see Figure 3). There are certainly a lot of houses in the UK that look like the ‘before’ houses. My only question is whether the lovely new white render will last. I was in Birmingham last weekend and there is a block of flats near the MAC with the same white facade. They looked great when new but now, maybe five years later, they are discoloured with green algae.