What does retrofit mean?

Retrofit means upgrading an existing property to make it warmer, cheaper to run, less draughty and more comfortable to live in. This is done by improving the insulation, air permeability and heating system. It also includes a ventilation system to provide good air quality in your home. By improving the energy efficiency, retrofit also reduces carbon emissions and improves the appearance and the security of your home.

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Why has my home been selected for these improvement works?

Orbit, in conjunction with Stratford District Council, has been awarded £1.45 million by the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) Demonstrator to install sustainable technologies in a number of our homes in Stratford. Alongside the SHDF fund, Orbit are investing a further £2.2 million into the project.


Your home has been identified as one that may benefit from some free energy efficiency improvements as part of this project.

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What is the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF)?

The SHDF Demonstrator is a UK-wide scheme which will upgrade around 2,000 social homes currently EPC rating D or below, using a whole house retrofit approach, with energy efficient products such as floor and wall insulation, windows and doors and low carbon heating.

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Do I have to pay for it?

No, there is no cost to you.

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What are the benefits for me?

Improvements made will not only make your home warmer and more comfortable, but it should also be more cost effective and more environmentally friendly to run.  Our partners Act on Energy will be on hand to help you maximise the benefits of the improvements.

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Who are Act on Energy?

Act on Energy is a local independent Energy Efficiency Charity and is here to answer your questions and provide ongoing support before, during, and after the installation.

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What energy efficiency improvements will be made to my home?

The energy efficiency improvements installed in your home will depend on the pre-start survey. You will be contacted directly by Orbit’s contractor, Lovell, to arrange this. Improvements may include:

  • external or internal wall insulation
  • loft and floor insulation
  • external doors and windows
  • a smart thermostat
  • a new heating system (for example an Air Source Heat Pump)
  • a ventilation system

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What are the next steps?

A pre-start survey of your home will be conducted by Lovell and this is expected to take place by February 2022. You will be contacted directly by Lovell to arrange the survey at a time that is convenient for you. Once complete and the pre-start survey has been reviewed, a schedule of works for your home will be finalised.  Additional surveys may be required for some homes and we will notify you of these in advance.

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What will the pre-start survey involve?

The Lovell prestart survey will give you an opportunity to meet your Resident Liaison Officer. They will explain the works that will be carried out, provide information on timescales and talk to you about any additional requirements you may have such as mobility, sight, shift working patterns, children and/or pets.

The Resident Liaison Officer will be accompanied by a second Lovell representative who will take exact measurements of your home for any improvements, such as new external doors and windows, and they may also take photographs of the areas of your home where the works will be carried out. They will be on hand to help answer any questions you may have.

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How long will the Lovell pre-start survey take?

The pre-start survey should take no longer than 60 minutes.

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When will the improvement works to my home start?

The project, which is improving the energy efficiency of 69 homes in the Stratford area, is expected to start in February 2022 and will be complete by June; work to each property will each take around six to nine weeks. We will give you plenty of notice before the works start on your home.

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How long will the improvement works to my home take?

The improvements should take between six to nine weeks. Scaffolding will be erected before the work starts and will be dismantled afterwards. You will be notified in advance of this.

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Who is doing the work?

Orbit’s appointed contractor is Lovell. Lovell will be working with a variety of specialist contractors to do the work.

Lovell is appointing a Resident Liaison Officer who will be your contact throughout the works.  You will receive a letter with their contact details, and they will arrange a visit to your home to introduce themselves.

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Will I have to move out?

We do not expect anyone to have to move out of their home whilst the work takes place. The work will inevitably cause some disruption, but we are committed to minimising this as much as possible.


When the Resident Liaison Officer visits your home, they will explain the work that is due to be carried out and will answer any questions you may have. They will also look to establish any additional requirements you may have such as mobility, sight, shift working patterns, children and/or pets. This will allow Lovell to plan the works in order to minimise any inconvenience.

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Will I have to empty my loft?

If you have any belongings in your loft, we will require them to be removed in advance of the work starting. If you are unable to move them or have nowhere to store them and need help, please let your Resident Liaison Officer know.


To get the maximum benefits from your home improvements, we recommend not storing belongings in the loft after the work has been completed as this may damage the insulation and reduce its effectiveness.

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What is a Smart thermostat?

A Smart thermostat is a digital thermostat that allows you to control your central heating (not storage heaters) and hot water. It also monitors indoor temperature and humidity to help Orbit resolve any problems in your home and ensure the new energy efficiency improvements are proving effective.

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What is External Wall Insulation (EWI)?

External wall insulation (EWI) is a layer of insulation material, fixed to the outside walls of a house. This is finished with a layer of render.


Older style properties with solid walls (i.e. no cavity) lose a lot of heat through the walls. Covering the outside walls with a layer of insulation can reduce this heat loss through the wall by up to 80%. The benefit to you will be a much warmer home.

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Will I get a choice of colour for my external walls?

The render for your home will either be in neutral off-white colour, a brick effect finish to match the existing brick, or a combination of these two types.  This is decided by the local planning department to blend in with the street scene.

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I’ve got a conservatory or lean-to shed. Can I still have EWI?

Yes, but we may need to remove or adapt the conservatory or lean-to.  We will discuss the options with you in more detail before the work starts.

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Can I install a satellite dish with EWI?

If you have a satellite dish, we will discuss the options with you before the works take place. Attaching items such as satellite dishes, hanging baskets etc. to the exterior of your home after EWI has been fitted can be difficult and it can cause damage to the insulation which then compromises its effectiveness.


Specialist fittings are required to ensure no damage is caused to the EWI when fitting items such as satellite dishes and to ensure the item does not blow off in high winds.  The Lovell surveyor will discuss this with you when they visit and, when the works are complete, you will be provided with advice on how to ensure your EWI retains its maximum performance for years to come.

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