The Nook was one of 87 social housing projects across the UK to be selected by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) for participation in the government-funded ‘Retrofit for the Future' programme. The latter received £17 million of government funding to test low carbon building technology in a range of properties owned by councils and housing associations.
Led by Baker-Brown, his architectural practice BBM Sustainable Design undertook research into the most effective ways of providing optimal solutions for reducing the energy demands of older buildings with multiple occupation, in this case a nineteenth-century property in Brighton. His research agenda included identification of energy savings through analysis of the ways in which buildings are used; consideration of the optimum relationship between the occupancy criteria of buildings and the thermal capacity of varying choices of construction linked to appropriate heating systems; and evaluation of the most suitable orientation and form for the proposed eco-retrofit to minimise needs for energy input.
The eco-retrofit of The Nook in Lover’s Walk, Brighton commenced in 2010 and was completed within seven months. Following completion in 2011 it was monitored for two years by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) to determine whether it (and other participants in the national project) had achieved an average carbon footprint of around 17kg of CO2/m2/annum – the most successful changes could then be rolled out across the country. It was found that the work carried out for The Nook could reduce the house's annual heating bills from £1,450 to £750.
The Nook featured in The Retrofit Revealed: The Retrofit for Future projects data analysis report published by TSB (2013) and in Residential Retrofit: 20 Case Studies (RIBA, 2013). Furthermore, BBM was shortlisted for the AJ Retrofit Awards in 2012 discussed in Hatie Hartman, 'Footprints' in AJ, September 2012.