SuperHome Database

Chalfont St Giles, Palliser Road

House Summary

Charles and Judy Ainger

House Type:
1960s detached bungalow, extended in 1980s

Carbon saving:
84% - SuperHomes Assessed  

Reported saving on bills:
29%, but 46% including FiT and RHI subsisdies, at 2013 prices

  • PV_Chalfont ST Giles
  • ChalfontStGiles2
  • PV_Chalfont ST Giles
  • Biomass Boiler – Charles Ainger
  • Rainwater Harvesting – Underground store
  • Solar Thermal – Charles Ainger
  • Wood Pellet Store – Charles Ainger

Measures installed:

  • Biomass Boiler
  • Draught-proofing
  • External Wall Insulation
  • Loft Insulation
  • Low Energy Lighting
  • Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Roof Insulation
  • Solar PV Panels
  • Solar Water Heating

Upcoming events

This Superhome is now for sale (see News). If you want to view the house, all contact and viewing arrangements should be made through the estate agents (

What visitors are saying

"So impressed at the way you had thought through the whole workings of your house and then come up with viable low impact solutions."

"Really interested in heat loss and draft surveys. Impressed by the attention to detail and the honesty in presentation (what we did well/badly)."

"Very useful visit. I hope planning/building control will allow me a PV system on my south facing roof."

"Very informative - the improvements are very impressive and I'm sure they'll inspire others."

"Encouragement to do some further energy efficient actions and relook at some basic items. Front and back doors, draught proofing and lighting."

"Very well organised and presented. Good to see theory put into practice!"

"Really practical advice which allows one to take a plan forwards and prioritise what to do."

"A thoroughly interesting insight into the various possibilities for making a home greener and more energy efficient. Never cease to be amazed at how much the Aingers have achieved..."

"A fascinating, informative visit. I have learnt a lot about various technologies. Really inspiring to see so many examples of eco living, in practice!"

"Charles and Judy were very knowledgeable and happy to explain what they had done why and what they would do differently with hindsight. A very useful visit."

"The organisers were extremely professional and had plenty of knowledge, and were very inspiring. Very interesting to see what to look for and what to plan for."

"I found the experiences and demonstration of the actions they had taken both positive and negative very helpful and relevant. Inspirational. Got a good idea of what's worth doing and what's not."

"Inspiring...encouraging...very enlightening."

"Charles and Judy have put a huge amount of thought and effort into making their home super energy efficient. It was great to see their plans, and hear about how much money and energy they've saved. "

Personal story:

Charles is a retired water enginer, ex Director of Sustainable Development with a consulting engineering firm. Judy is a retired social worker. After having installed solar PV in 2003, and solar thermal in 2005, we wanted to add a ‘sun room’ extension, and do other eco-retrofit improvements in 2008.


Motivation was originally strongly ecological, to save carbon emissions. Now that we have the house in use, comfort is better, and saving over 40% of energy and water costs is valuable for us as pensioners.

Property background:

Detached bungalow, built 1950s, extended 1980s. The Superhomes entry describes eco-retrofit, summer 2008 [but solar PV and solar thermal were installed in 2003 and 2005 respectively]. Heated living space is 126m2 + 20m2 unheated ‘sun room’. Household is 2 retired people (occasionally 3).

Starting point for the changes was: Old gas (65% efficient) non-condensing boiler for heating (radiators) & hot water. ‘Low hanging fruit’ had already been done – cavity wall insulation, double glazing, reasonable loft insulation, foil behind + control valves on radiators.

Key changes made:

Extra roof and loft Insulation, draught-sealing and a MVHR system, and low energy light bulbs throughout, reduced energy use by about 15%.

MVHR uses electricty for fan, but makes the house very comfortable to live in, with no moisture or condensation problems.

Renewables – biomass boiler, solar PV and solar thermal – systems generated approx 16,700 kWh in 2012.

Wood pellet boiler runs usually for 7 winter months; solar thermal does all hot water during 5 summer mnths; they work well togther.

Measures installed in detail:

  • Automatic feed, wood pellet boiler, 10-15 kW output. 3T storage hopper
  • Fully  draught-proofed (leaks sealed; air-tightness test 8.6, external post box added and letter box flap sealed
  • External wall insulation to 30m2 of single brick wall
  • Extra 200mm thick loft insulation (total 400mm)
  • All bulbs low energy, also 50% low energy fittings
  • Whole house MVHR, uses 880 kWh/yr electricity
  • Rainwater Harvesting; 110 m2 roof fills 3,300 m3 storage tank; feeds 1 WC, wash m/c, 2 garden taps
  • Hemp insulation on sloping roof and dormer windows
  • 2.4 kWp Solar PV on south facing roof generates 2200kWh/yr
  • Solar thermal – 2 x 6 evacuated tubes generate 1240 kWh/yr hot water output and do all hot water over 5 summer months
  • New front door with ‘U’ rating 2.0w/2k
  • Case Study – Rainwater Harvesting
  • Case Study – Wood Pellet Boiler
  • Case Study – Costs & Further Info on SuperHome 83
Benefits of work carried out:

Savings of 84% in carbon emissions and 46% in energy and water costs.

Great eveness of temperature between rooms, and absolutely no moisture and condensation problems in spite of no draughts.

Sun room, unheated, is so well insulated (big window is triple glazed) that it is useable all year; great for being a greenhouse too for our plants.

Reasuring to know that ~85% of our energy is not subject to fossil fuel price increases.

Favourite feature:

Being able to grow a lime tree in the sun room, with harvest of very tasty fresh limes; and the high comfort level in all rooms.

Project update:

Our big news is that we are moving house in June, after 20 years here, to a smaller Passivhaus, in the Lancaster Cohousing community – see: www.lancastercohousing.
We hope our Superhome will go to an interested new owner, who will nurture it too. Might that be you?

Updated on 18/03/2015

Common questions and answers for this SuperHome

What choices did you make for your sun room?+

Our sun room is not a conservatory in the normal ‘buy a package’ sense of the word. It is orientated north-south. It has a mass concrete heat retaining floor and continuous 3/4 depth windows on south & part east side that are triple glazed.  The north and (part) east wall is built to modern building regulations using cavity insulated brick + blocks.  The sun room has a deep insulated peaked roof with three double glazed velux windows on the south roof slope.

Contact this homeowner

Assessment types

SuperHomes Assessed

A home that has been visited and assessed by us and confirmed as reaching the SuperHome standard, which demonstrates a 60% carbon saving.

Homeowner Reported

Information has been provided by the homeowner about their home and energy use prior to the installation of measures and following their installation which demonstrates a carbon saving. This information has not been verified.

Remote Assessed

The homeowner has provided information on their home including what measures have been installed which has enables an assessor working on our behalf to assess their carbon savings. This home has not been visited to verify the measures installed.


This home has not been assessed, but the homeowner has reported what measures have been installed. It may be that this home is awaiting assessment.