Retrofit: Maison Dieu Road

Up until 2006, Maison Dieu Road, a detached Victorian villa in Dover was a residential care home, since then it has been left empty. The property had been the subject of anti-social behaviour, including vandalism and squatting in the following few years and had much of the internal facilities stolen or damaged.

Dover District Council had tried to work with the freeholder (Company), who failed to engage constructively with the Council. Consequently, the Council raised their concerns with the lender and provided a list of developer who may be interested in purchasing the property.

As a result of this intervention the property was brought to market and bought by a local developer. Kent County Council through the No Use Empty Initiative has provided additional support in the form of a £25,000 interest free loan, towards the cost of the redevelopment including energy efficient measures

Now the property has been renovated and converted into 8 self containing living units designed for a one person dwelling.  The ultimate plan for the apartments is for them to provide affordable housing to homeless youths.

An array of 4 solar photovoltaic panels has been installed on the roof; the cost of procurement and installation is estimated to have a 6 year payback. Evacuated solar heating tubes are used to heat the hot water for the whole property.

Energy Saving Trust – PV Electricity Panels

The basement has been equipped with a biomass boiler (estimated 6/7 year payback on initial outlay). The boiler runs on wood pellets costing £220 per kilo. It burns the pellets at a 96% efficiency rate producing 4.8kwh per kilo so there are almost no emissions released to the environment. The boiler is fully modulating, this means that it doesn’t have to be on all the time. Any residual heat the boiler creates is stored and can be used for heating. The main by-product from the boilers operation is ash; this is collected at the base of the boiler. The small amount that is produced over the course of a year could be used as compost.

Energy Saving Trust – Biomass Boiler

The Centre of Alternative Energy

A neat system has been put in place to load the pellet hopper in the basement. Plastic tubes are mounted on the front of the property which runs to the basement which allows pellets to be transported straight from the delivery truck to storage facility in minutes. The cost of the fuel is half the price of the feed in tariff, which is currently guaranteed for 20 years. This means that this type of energy generation is simultaneously both fuel efficient and lucrative. The redevelopment can benefit the community in a number of ways:

  • There is more affordable accommodation in Dover.
  • The energy and hot water is supplied in an extremely efficient way which minimises the buildings environmental impact.
  • A large, attractive property near the town centre has been renovated which could encourage further redevelopment in the area.