Retrofit house is first SuperHome in Northern Ireland

SuperHome in Belfast, Northern Ireland

SuperHome in Belfast, Northern Ireland

The first retrofit house in Northern Ireland to qualify as a SuperHome will open its doors to the public this weekend as part of September’s SuperHome Open Days.

Grove Housing Association have pushed hard to show what is possible with this mid terrace Victorian house in Belfast which was built in 1896. Its refurbishment has been both experimental and far reaching, resulting in a remarkable 85% carbon saving.

Whole house approach to new measures
Measures installed include triple glazing, internal wall, floor and ceiling insulation, whole house Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR), a new gas system boiler (with flue gas heat exchanger) and a 10 panel solar PV array.

Windows have been replaced with Passivhaus certified windows and natural daylight has been increased with the fitting of 4 triple glazed roof windows and a sun tunnel. Thermal bridging around window frames and at joist ends has been eliminated, a new roof fitted and 200mm of insulation installed under the solid floor downstairs.

Retrofit house is exceptionally air-tight
This retrofit house now has quite exceptional air-tightness which means that the complementary MVHR now controls ventilation to minimise winter heat loss whilst maintaining air quality. A clothes drying cabinet is connected the system and the inclusion of a duct heater means a tumble drier is not needed. The hybrid ventilation system opens the roof windows to provide passive cross flow ventilation in summer.

Before and after figures speak for themselves
The property was refurbished by Eco-Energy (NI) Ltd and the before and after statistics below speak for themselves. It has been lifted from a Band D to Band A in terms of its SAP rating.

What a difference the retrofit has made!

Space heating demand:

Before: 252 kWh/m2/yr

After: 37 kWh/m2/yr

CO2 emissions:

Before: 92.7 kg/m2/yr

After: 19.7 kg/m2/yr


Before: 12.2 ACH (air changes per hour at 50 pascals)

After: 0.35 ACH at 50 Pa

Gas bills: (estimated)

Before (2010-11): £1,054 per annum

After: £249

Electricity bills : (estimated)

Before (2010-11): £518 per annum

After: £80

These figures were verified or estimated using PHPP – a programme by which passive house standard can be measured. On-going performance of structure being measures using various sensors including ones for moisture and temperature positioned within the building fabric.


NOTE: You can join a free tour of this Belfast SuperHome on Sat 28 Sep 2013 between 10am – 1pm as part of its Open Day. Book now to avoid disappointment. Most SuperHome owners host open days in spring or September each year.


Also See:
19th century council house gets zero carbon upgrade – Construct Ireland article