SuperHome Database

Cradley, Ridgeway Cross, Malvern

House Summary

Harold Armitage

House Type:
70 year old bungalow

Carbon saving:
90% - SuperHomes Assessed  

Reported saving on bills:
Net annual benefit is £3,500 including FIT payment.

Total invested:

  • Harold Armitage's cottage, before renovation
  • Cradley SH
  • Solar PV – H_Armitage_After

Measures installed:

  • Draught-proofing
  • External Wall Insulation
  • Floor Insulation
  • Low Energy Lighting
  • Quadruple glazing
  • Roof Insulation
  • Solar PV Panels
  • Solar Water Heating
  • Sunpipe
  • Thermal Store
  • Water Saving Devices
  • Wood Stove

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

“Very impressive and inspiring.”

“A wealth of useful information and opportunity to see things in a situ. Really valuable to be able to speak to someone who has broad experience of some of the things we are considering - thank you!”

"Very interesting. Some good ideas which I shall use on my own projects."

Personal story:

I was an energy efficiency engineer in the NHS (now retired).
The house conversion is a DIY project, it was purchased as being especially suitable for this purpose.
The project (working alone) took four years.
I believe I will get the money invested back in less than four years due to energy price increases that are inevitable in the next few years.


I have always been interested in saving energy (and money).
I have upgraded four previous houses I lived in but this is the first Solar Passive house project.
I believe everybody should be able to benefit from this technology, ie all future new houses should be built to passive house standards. It is important to publicise the fact s about what is possible, many people just don’t know.
Conspiracy theorists think it is a government plot to line the pockets of the fossil fuel companies.

Property background:

The property is a 1930’s bungalow specially purchased because it was ideal for conversion to a Solar Passive house.
(Due to position and orientation.)
It is constructed with 200mm brick walls everywhere, an important heat storing feature.
It now needs no central heating system and hence no gas, oil or coal. There are no maintenance bills either.
There is a small woodburning stove that is used in Winter for two or three hours per day in cold sunless periods lasting more than a few days.
The photovoltaic array generates as much power as we use, on a good year, slightly more, so we are a net exporter of energy.
The property has recently appeared on BBC “Newsnight”, “BBC West midlands” and radio Hereford and Worcester.

Key changes made:

(1) Massive external insulation.
(2) Form large South facing windows and small North facing windows.
(3) Insulated doors and shutters.
(4) Attention to draught proofing and ventilation.
(5) Installation of 3.88Kwp PV array.
(6) Installation of solar thermal panel (home made).
(7) Rainwater harvesting.
(8) Energy efficient lighting.
(8) Efficient layout of Domestic Hot Water system.
(9) Heat collecting conservatory.
(10) Light tube.

Measures installed in detail:

• Attention to draught proofing
• 600mm mineral wool and 100mm insulation block on outside of exterior walls
• 200mm insulation under most floor area
• A and A+ electrical appliances
• Compact Fluorescent Lights everywhere
• Quadruple glazing
• 250mm foam insulation in roof
• 3.88kWp Solar PV system
• Solar water heating
• Sun tube
• Thermal Store
• Water saving devices include rainwater harvesting
• Wood burning stove


• Earth shielded extension
• High efficiency domestic hot water system
• Grow own firewood (coppicing)
• Grow own vegetables
• Large South facing windows/small North windows
• Mitsubishi Electric car
• Heat gathering conservatory
• Insulated window shutters
• Insulated doors

Benefits of work carried out:

The benifits are financial. Plus the morally superior feeling.
Because this is a conversion of existing building to Passive Solar House standard, some compromises have had to be made. Some existing concrete floors are not insulated for example.
However I believe a new Solar Passive house could be built for no more money than a conventional one as no heating system or gas service is needed.
In the Winter period I need approximately 40Kg of dry wood which I has cost nothing because I grow my own. Cut up with electric chainsaw on sunny days (Solar power.)
Mitsubishi I-Miev electric car is charged up from solar PV (weather permitting) and has zero road tax.

As important, What didn’t work.
Attempt to build thermal (heat) store.
I now believe these can’t be made to work on a domestic scale. The reason being that by the time the heat is needed, it has leaked away. On a small device the heat can only be stored for a couple of days at most.
Also unless the store is enormous, the amount of heat stored is negligible due to the low temperature most operate at.

Favourite feature:

There are no favourite features. All are neccessary to achieve net zero energy use. The house is designed for maximum efficiency and the exterior looks no different from any other house.
There are no strange appendages, impractical features or archtect’s totems.

Project update:

Electric car is charged up from PV panels weather permitting.
The house has appeared on BBC TV here:-

And here:-

Updated on 30/01/2013

Common questions and answers for this SuperHome

What external wall insulation system did you use?+

Conventional insulation was used, just more of it. The walls are insulated with mineral wool cavity fill bats (5x100mm thick) available at any Builders Merchant. The original walls are solid 8″ brick. An extra footing was dug out around the perimeter of the building and an additional masonry leaf erected with the mineral wool between. The roof had to be extended to cover this. (It needed replacement anyway.)

How did you do the external wall insulation so cheaply?+

The whole project was DIY so there were no labour costs. The house was specially purchased as being suitable for conversion.

How did you handle windows and doors?+

Insulated window shutters and doors were installed.

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.