External Wall Insulation (EWI): Engaging social tenants in energy efficiency retrofitting in the North East of England

Sara Lilley, Gill Davidson, Zaid Alwan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


The question of how best to tackle the problem of energy inefficient older housing in the UK is considerable, and is further complicated by the question of tenure. Social landlords are working to update and improve their properties, which make up around 15% of the total UK housing stock (4 million properties). The success of such efficiency improvements depends in part on the cooperation of tenants, and their ability and willingness to engage with the process of change. This paper describes the experiences of eleven social housing tenant households whose properties were fitted with External Wall Insulation (EWI), based on pre- and post-installation interviews and data collection. It includes discussion of tenants' knowledge, attitudes, and expectations prior to and following installation; household thermal comfort and energy spending before installation; tenant experiences of having EWI installed; tenant perceptions regarding the effects of EWI on thermal comfort, energy spending, and housing attractiveness; impacts of EWI on internal temperatures and heat loss (measured via thermal imaging); energy bill comparisons. Households experienced an average saving of 33% on energy bills following EWI installation, and the majority of tenants reported benefits including improved thermal comfort and related positive impacts on health and wellbeing. The paper concludes by highlighting potential learning points for engaging tenants in the process of enhancing energy efficiency in UK social rented housing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


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