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Keegans collaborated with ECD Architects on a decarbonization study involving 13 buildings spread across five schools in Brent. The aim was to develop standardized retrofit approaches applicable to the entire estate based on the findings and strategies identified during this study. For schools constructed before 2000, two typical building archetypes were identified: "Traditional" and "Modern," each with delineated retrofit paths. However, given the diverse range of building types, it's anticipated that "hybrid" approaches will also be prevalent.


Cost Consultancy Services

Keegans conducted comprehensive cost analysis and option appraisal for a range of fabric alternatives pertinent to the thermal upgrade project. These fabric options encompassed windows and doors, roofing and cladding, walls, as well as mechanical and electrical components.



In recognition of the financing mechanisms behind school improvement projects, our simulation aimed to demonstrate the effects of a step-by step retrofit. In particular, the impact of undertaking such light-touch measures as cavity wall or loft insulation, ahead of deeper fabric improvements.


The impact of these “easy wins” is usually not very significant, highlighting that it would be best to tackle all the recommended retrofit measures at once to ensure the conservation of energy, decarbonisation of heating and hot water provision with the replacement of boilers with air source heat pumps as the last step on route to a Net-Zero-Ready estate.


The study also concluded that installation of PVs would only be able to meet a small portion of the buildings’ energy demands, so it is the improvement of the building fabric that needs to be prioritised.


Basic draught-proofing measures and the installation of Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery were recommended as the first step in all the scenarios, due to documented issues with ventilation- common in naturally ventilated schools.


“The final report was well written and easy to read and understand, making good use of illustrations; and the cost information was provided in a way that made it easy to extrapolate across the estate. The interactive workshops with the school children were well received and promoted a lot of discussions within the school communities they outreached to. 

– Neil Martin, Head of Capital Programmes


Retrofit Solution

While every building needs to be assessed separately, the study outlined retrofit pathways for ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ building archetypes, plus ‘hybrid’ approaches for schools.


It captured insights about the buildings, available retrofit solutions, simulation results and advice on next steps.


Key Conclusions include;

  • Implementing draught-proofing and installing mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) as the first step in every scenario.
  • Decarbonising heating and hot water systems as the last step to ensure energy affordability.
  • Making fabric improvements to reduce energy demand before investing in renewable energy sources.
  • Prioritising decarbonising cooking and dishwashing.


Economic, social and environmental benefits

  • Helping the borough to plan the most practical and cost-effective retrofit approaches to help it achieve net zero.
  • Increasing students’ awareness of buildings’ contribution to carbon emissions, through workshops demonstrating internal heat gains, insulation, airtightness and similar concepts.
Continue reading about Brent Schools Retrofit StudyRead less
  • Client

London Borough of Brent Council


  • Services

Cost Consultancy


  • Location

North London


  • Specialisation

Staged Retrofit Action Plans

Presentations to students

Renewables assessment

Cost analysis and Option appraisal.


See moreSee moreThe Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Wave 2.2 competition application window is now open!


The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Wave 2.2 competition application window is now open!

Up to £80 million is available for social housing retrofit projects in England.

Get in touch


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