New research shows that SuperHomes typically use 40% less energy per square metre than the average UK home, making them much cheaper to run than their neighbours. This September the owners of 50 of these refurbished Victorian, Edwardian, Georgian and post war properties will open their doors to inspire visitors to green their own homes. Free SuperHome Open Days will take place over the weekends of Heritage Open Days (8-11 Sep) and Open House London (17 & 18 Sep) with the closing event on 2 October. During the open days tours and Q&A sessions will enable visitors to quiz the owners on the benefits and the challenges of whole house refurbishment.
SuperHomes Patron, John Doggart, said “The government is contemplating multi-billion pound subsidies for new nuclear power, but improving older homes could provide hugely better value. Homes have the longest replacement cycle of everything we own – every 200 years. If we could get existing homes up to SuperHome standard the long term benefits for our children and the environment could be completely transformational, as well as delivering vastly more comfort now”.
SuperHomes are existing homes refurbished by their owners for much greater comfort, lower bills and far fewer carbon emissions – at least 60% less! Whilst low-carbon and low-energy don’t necessarily go hand in hand, the new research confirms that SuperHomes excel in both respects. This is quite some achievement, given that many are larger family homes built in Victorian times. The most energy efficient home in the study uses a staggering 86% less energy than the average home! In short, the open days will showcase some of the UK homes most improved for energy use!
SuperHomers have achieved thermal comfort and low energy use without compromise. Visitors will find none of the squeezed living spaces typical of many recently built new homes here! Of course, making dramatic improvements to a cold, draughty and damp old property takes a special commitment. Most of the houses benefit from upgraded heating, insulation, ventilation and greater use of renewables. Visitors will hear first-hand that the refurbishment pays back handsomely.
Many are opening their homes for the first time this September:
Manchester’s Gervase Magwana was a jet-setting DJ before studying at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) and determining to gut his house and to rebuild it from the inside into a well ventilated CO2-busting haven.
Luke Smith in Milton Keynes has DIY renovated and modernized a neglected 1930s ex-Council house, upgrading it with a mix of internal, external and floor and loft insulation as well as an innovative passive ventilation system.
Zina Zelter in Leicester took in tenants to help with the cost of gradually transforming a cold solid wall 1930s semi-detached home into the warm and cosy home she now enjoys.
Peter and Gretchen in London have installed external wall insulation to help them achieve a comfortable cheap-to-heat, healthy home, immune to energy price rises. They had been thinking ahead to their future retirement living on a fixed income.
Many SuperHomers have taken advantage of government grants and incentives such as insulation grants, the feed-in tariff or the renewable heat incentive. Seeing the technologies installed and even in use and talking to the owners, makes a visit a much more satisfying and trusted experience.
Advance registration is recommended for these annual events. To find out more or to pre-book a place on a free tour, visit www.superhomes.org.uk.
To find out more or to pre-book a place on a free tour, visit the SuperHome Locator map here.
SuperHome Open Days are coordinated by the National Energy Foundation.
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