Change Search Parameters

Select Type of Resource



Analysis/ Technical report

Guidance documents


Case Studies/ Best Practices

Select Hot Topics

Financing and Management

Funding Incentives Project Management Asset Management

Knowledge and Support

Partnership Working Work with Residents Capacity Building


Thermal Insulation Windows and Shading Air Tightness Environmental Design

Renewable Energies

Solar Thermal Solar Photovoltaic Other Renewables

Building Services

Heating and Hot Water Cooling Ventilation Electricity Saving Products Water Saving

Monitoring and Certification

Certification Monitoring

Select Language

Select Building Process Stage

National/regional strategy development

Organisational strategy development

Pre- design phase (appraisal and strategic briefing)

Design phase (project briefing)

Call for tender phase

Construction phase (construction briefing)

Commissioning phase

Use phase (occupancy briefing)

Maintenance and repair phase

Asset management

User involvement process

Resource: Retrofit Reality Report

Name of organisation: Gentoo

Type of ressource: analysis/ technical report

Addressed barriers:

Addressed users:

  • building user (social housing organization)
  • tenant/ cooperator
  • building owner
  • design team
  • project manager
  • contractor
  • public decision maker


  • English

Process stage:

  • national/ regional strategy development
  • pre- design phase (appraisal and strategic briefing)
  • organisational strategy development
  • design phase (project briefing)
  • call for tender phase

Contact: Olivia Powis

Funding Environmental Design Monitoring Partnership Working Solar Photovoltaic Project Management Work with Residents Solar Thermal


Gentoo has published the second of three reports detailing the progress it has made so far on its Retrofit Reality project, the biggest retrofit scheme of its type in the country.

The project seeks to learn lessons for the housing sector and establish what is the ‘reality’ of the situation for landlords, customers and product supplier’s when attempting to meet the challenge of the huge national retrofit programme that lies ahead.

139 of the properties Gentoo own and manage were selected for the study and energy efficient products were fitted to all or some of the homes: solar thermal panels, A-rated condensing combination boilers, energy efficient showers and double glazing. In addition another 40 homes were chosen to act as a control group for the behavioural study, which forms part of the whole project.



Gentoo manages nearly 30,000 properties which will be inhabited for many years to come so being able to successfully retrofit the existing stock to higher energy efficient levels is important for the long-term maintenance of the homes and to reduce customer’s fuel bills. Alongside the retrofit work, Gentoo will be carrying out extensive educational work with tenants in order that the products that are fitted are used correctly and to the greatest benefit to the user.

Retrofit Reality is being pioneered by Gentoo Green, the sustainability arm of the group, working together with Gentoo Construction and Gentoo Sunderland to implement the study.

This Retrofit Reality report details the progress so far, lessons learnt and answers to a multitude of questions that have been asked by the industry for years, including: how difficult are these products to put into a house?, how easy are they to use?, what are the benefits to people living in the homes? and what type of maintenance do they require?

Joe Thompson, Head of Surveying Services, Gentoo Construction, said: “This project has been invaluable in providing real hands on experience in delivering low carbon refurbishment and has given us the confidence to be able to successfully deliver this type of scheme on behalf of anyone”

The research is being carried out with financial support from the Tenant Services Authority and the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. Gentoo are also working in partnership with Northumbria University and are funding two PhD students for a period of three years to assist with the technical and behavioural aspects of the project.

The second report, which is now available to download here, is the second in a series of three reports which seek to share Gentoo’s experience and expand on the lessons learned from the project. The final report will be launched by the end of September 2010.

Related Files
retrofit_Reality_Report_2.pdf (1003.2 kB)