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Visit older homes renovated for 5 star carbon saving comfort

The pioneering owners of 60 SuperHomes will host free Open Days this September showing how
5 star carbon saving comfort can be achieved in older family homes.

SuperHomes are older homes refurbished by their owners for greater comfort, lower bills and far fewer carbon emissions – at least 60% less! This makes them some of the UK homes most improved for energy use.

Rear view of Birmingham zero carbon SuperHome

Visitors at John Christophers Zero Carbon SuperHome in Birmingham. Opening to the public on 13 Sep.

SuperHome Open Days aim to provide inspiration and actionable ideas for greening your own home. Each of the 60 homes opening in September presents the opportunity to see a range of retrofit technologies in a single visit. Most SuperHomes have superior insulation; many have alternative heating sources and some produce their own energy.

Nearly all SuperHomes are owned, lived in and have been refurbished by private homeowners. These early adopters can explain both the benefits and challenges involved in a major refurbishment project. During Open Day tours and Q&A sessions you can discover what worked and get frank feedback on anything that didn’t.

The SuperHomes network, which is coordinated by the National Energy Foundation, has won multiple awards. These include, in June this year, a Sustainable Energy Europe Award from the European Commission. The network is UK wide and includes examples of renovated Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and post-war properties.

So many different properties, challenges and solutions

Homeowner Jurgen Huber joined SuperHomes in 2014 and brings the high level of enthusiasm typical of those opening their doors to the public this September. He says “I like to promote SuperHomes as it shows so many different properties, challenges and solutions.”

London SuperHome owned by Jurgen Huber and Zoe Allen

Jurgen Huber and Zoe Allen’s London SuperHome opens on 21 Sep – 1 of 8 SuperHomes opening for the first time.

After 15 years living on boats and barges, Jurgen and his partner Zoe Allen headed for shore and bought a 1920s brick mid terrace house intent on making it super energy efficient. Their own challenges included a tight budget and the house not being connected to the mains gas grid.

Jurgen is justifiably pleased with the results of their retrofit. He says “Now we’ve a very comfortable home that can be quickly heated or cooled at very little cost. At the same time we’ve maintained the 1920s period character of the property which is something we love.”

Improved comfort is something that visitors to any SuperHome should be able to detect. 95% of SuperHome owners rate the comfort of their homes as excellent or good following renovation, compared to just 8% before. Visiting a SuperHome is one way to see whether these claims of improved comfort hold true.

The SuperHomes network harnesses the enthusiasm of pioneers like Jurgen to demonstrate the benefits of switching to low energy living. The stories SuperHome owners have to tell – their motivations, their personal experience, their challenges and successes – paint a very human picture of why retrofit is the future for UK housing.

Jurgen continues “My house is now 100% carbon neutral. Along with my wife and two children we use and generate 3300 kWh of electricity. We cook with the most energy efficient induction cooker, we heat water with an electric instantaneous water heater, and we heat rooms with a highly efficient air source heat pump and electric underfloor heating.”

SuperHome, Chorltonville

Kit Knowles’ 1909 Arts and Crafts SuperHome is open on 12/13/14 Sep. This test bed boasts world first uses of new insulation, ventilation and water saving technologies.

As a priority, Jurgen and Zoe made significant improvements to the fabric of the house, adding insulation to the floor, loft, ceiling and the inside face of the external walls. They draught-proofed throughout and also installed some double glazing.

As the property is off the gas main, the couple chose to install an air source heat pump, electric under floor heating and an instantaneous water heater. They also took care to install LEDs and only A rated appliances including a fridge freezer and induction cooker.

The first phase cost £4000. This paid for all insulation materials, the air source heat pump, induction cooker and LED lighting and reduced annual bills, says Jurgen, by £500. Solar PV panels cost a further £12,000 and were financed with a loan.

Jurgen used his carpentry and boat fitting skills to DIY much of the installation work. Other SuperHome owners have DIY’d items like internal wall insulation and floor insulation and similarly reducedthe costs of their projects.

Wirral PV2

Diane Buxton’s SuperHome bungalow is open to visitors on 11/12/13/14 Sep. 1 of the 8 SuperHomes opening for the first time during September.

SuperHomes often stretch our perceptions of what is possible. These improvements enabled Jurgen, Zoe and their two children to get their home energy use down to between 3000 – 3500 kWh per year, which is exactly what their new solar PV system generates.

In 8 years Jurgen and Zoe may see a financial return but that, Jurgen says, is secondary. His ambition was to prove that even with a modest budget you can refurbish a draughty old home and make it a comfortable energy neutral house.

Jurgen and Zoe’s property is just one of the sixty SuperHomes you can visit in September 2014. Together these exemplar homes provide the proof that a more sustainable and comfortable future is possible.

For more information on booking a free visit to a SuperHome visit the SuperHome Locator map here.

Also See:
5 reasons to visit SuperHomes
4 ways to search for a SuperHome
10 reasons you feel better in a SuperHome

Other Green Open Home Events this September:
See details in our August News Update

Notes for Editors:
Full media release here with Notes

Photos to download [1] [2] [3]