SuperHome Database

Chester, Hoole, Elmwood Avenue

House Summary

Simon Brown

House Type:
Semi-detached two storey. Built in 1938

Carbon saving:
60% - SuperHomes Assessed  

  • Simon Brown's SuperHome
  • 1,Elmwwod Avenue1-min
  • ShedTurfRoof
  • FrontWaterButts
  • LoftInsulation

Measures installed:

  • Cavity Wall Insulation
  • Condensing boiler
  • Double Glazing
  • Internal Wall Insulation
  • Loft Insulation
  • Low Energy Appliances
  • Low Energy Lighting
  • Solar PV Panels
  • Solar Water Heating
  • Water Saving Devices

Upcoming events

Early interest in Open Days encourages SuperHome owners to host more events. If you'd like to visit this property please contact the owner and let them know. SuperHomers are often happy to respond to questions about their refurbishment project by email between times. Please read ‘more on contacting this SuperHomer’ before you make contact.

What visitors are saying

"Really enjoyed the tour! It's inspired me to do more. Interesting to know that LED technology has moved on."

"Extremely interesting and well informed. Lots of interesting ideas, hoping to implement some - such as kitchen lighting and grey water collection. Learnt a lot. "

"Very interested to see affordable solutions working in practice and how achievable it is."

"Helpful to see all the energy saving features in situ, rather than just reading about it and talking to someone with experience of practical aspects. Very grateful for the opportunity to visit a superhome."

"Really informative and worthwhile visit - inspiring. Great to see such a great range of measures used to heat and save energy too."

"This was the third Superhome that we have visited and turned out to be the best. It was good to see eco ideas incorporated into a standard family home. It showed what was possible without breaking the bank."

"Very helpful, welcoming and informative.”

"Good to see how someone actually lives a green way."

“Good to see energy saving stuff being used practically in a busy home.”

Personal story:

In 1999 Diana and myself bought this 30’s semi-detached 3 – bedroom house to be our home together with Diana’s three children Richard, Abigail and Oliver.


We intended to extend the house to be big enough for a growing family and wanted, in the process, to incorporate as many energy saving features as we could afford at the time.

We also wanted to create a good working space to the rear for doing all sorts of craft work – Diana for example is a keen dress-maker, and the conservatory is a great light space in which to work.

Property background:

When we purchased our home we were aware that the house already had cavity wall insulation  (polystyrene beads) and all the existing windows were double glazed. Unfortunately we became aware they were very thermally inefficient, acting like “cold radiators” and they had aluminium frames that leaked heat.

In early 2000 we submitted our plans for Planning approval to turn our home into a spacious house that would be plenty of space for our needs together with our growing family. We were attracted to the property because of the potential offered by the south facing aspect, and space to the side of the house that would allow extension sideways to create the extra space we were wanting.

Following approval we then set about raising the necessary finance – and because we were keen to support ethical finance and wanted to incorporate several ‘eco-features’ into the extension we were able to have a mortgage approved with the Ecology Building Society.

Key changes made:

In drawing up the plans we had hoped to incorporate solar photovoltaic panels in the roof (which required a re-tile job) as part of the re-roofing, as well  as including solar thermal panels which were manufactured by a local (Chester based) company, ‘Solartwin’. Unfortunately at the time, because there was no financial  support to install renewable energy measures into domestic properties we had to forgo the electric part and just have two solar thermal panels – these dramatically reduced our energy demand for hot water.

In November 2000 work started and by the following November we had a five bedroom house – together with an energy efficient conservatory to the rear and extended kitchen and utility room. The total volume of the house was almost doubled to provide a suitable space for us all to live comfortably.

All glazing was energy efficient argon gas filled double gazing utilising Wooden FSC   certified  frames and we could afford to renew a few of the original windows which were aluminium framed and thermally very inefficient.

After the first year we were pleasantly surprised to find our total energy bill (Gas and electricity) was slightly less than the previous smaller home, despite almost doubling its size!

Measures installed in detail:

  • Mineral wool cavity wall insulation
  • Vaillant EcoMax Gas Condensing boiler – Siemens portable wireless room thermostat fitted – 90% radiators with TRVs
  • Wooden (FSC rated) double glazed argon gas filled window throughout
  • Polystyrene insulation  on internal walls (50mm)
  • 300mm ‘Warmcell 100’ loft insulation
  • Low energy appliances
  • Low energy lighting throughout – LED downlighters in kitchen
  • 7 x 175W SHARP NT-RE5E3 Solar PV panels – total rated 1.25KWp – inverters fitted for feed-in to mains
  • 2 Solartwin solar thermal panels installed (Roof faces almost due south). Each panel 2465mmx1265mm
  • Water saving devices include: 2 x ‘Ifo Cera’ low water usage toilets installed with 3L/6L flush; water diverter fitted to bedroom shower to feed into 235L water butt for grey water garden use; 7 x 235L water butts collecting rainwater from roof at rear; 2x125L water butts collecting rainwater at front
  • Other: ceiling suspended clothes dryer in utility room. Outdoor washing line approx 24 mtr length when extended
Benefits of work carried out:

The refurbishment has meant that we now have a comfortable home which has been enlarged to suit our needs, yet uses the same or slightly less total energy than the original house we bought.

We have also discovered, that since our house has a relatively public position, that the solar panels (both thermal and Pv) have generated lots of interest from people curious to know how it works and whether it is a good investment.

Favourite feature:

Solar thermal panels mean that in the summer we have virtually all the hot water we need without using gas to heat it.

Project update:

Recently installed a 5Kw wood burner for the kitchen area. This means that we can burn locally grown wood whenever we are just using the kitchen area – whether for cooking, craft work, dressmaking or reading… without heating the rest of the house.

Updated on 24/02/2013

Common questions and answers for this SuperHome

What type of cavity wall insulation do you have ?+

The cavity wall insulation in our house was carried out in two phases….

The first was commissioned by the previous owner of the 3 bed semi we bought over 14 years ago – I believe the insulation was put in a number of years previous to that…..

This insulation was polystyrene beads which at the time was probably one of the most effective ways of doing cavity wall insulation… It still works fine, although I would guess over the years it has settled quite a bit …… no problems with damp ingress and the original walls have little heat loss.. I still get a few beads roll out when I drill a hole in the wall for shelving etc!!!

We extended our home in 2000 to a 5 bed semi and as the new walls were built the local builder who carried out the work utilised mineral wool batts in the cavity, taking care to keep clear of the damp course …. this still works fine and again, no problems of damp course bridging or of damp ingress…..

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.