SuperHome Database

Leamington Spa, Kenilworth Rd, Ashby House

House Summary

Owner(s):
Ulrich and Katharina

House Type:
Regency 1835, semi-detached, Grade II listed

Carbon saving:
69% - SuperHomes Assessed  


  • Leamington Spa, Ashby House SuperHome, PV Array
  • garden and home owner
  • wood stove1
  • wood store

Measures installed:

  • Eco materials
  • Floor Insulation
  • Internal Wall Insulation
  • Low Energy Appliances
  • Secondary glazing
  • Solar PV Panels
  • Solar Water Heating
  • Sunpipe
  • 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

"Good ideas for insulating internal walls and woodburners."

"Insulation is economically and environmentally beneficial - so we all ought to consider it. "

"Very good ideas and a mixture of solutions and great feedback."

"Very informative and thought provoking."

"Well presented tour of the house and good technical knowledge of the products used."

"Lovely people. Very keen to explain about each aspect of energy saving. Samples of material used were available to look at and handle. Seeing the various devices in use was very helpful. Friendly family."

"We received a warm welcome and an interesting and educational guided tour of the eco measures introduced, details of manufacturers, their products and rough ideas of costs and efficiencies of the installations. Well worth the visit.”

“I was Impressed. I came to see if there was anything I could afford to do in my 5 bedroomed Victorian family house where I now live on my own…. I am in mid 80's!”

“Everything was explained in detail with, where possible and appropriate, samples of the materials used.”

“Very informative… lots of sample insulating material at hand plus printed copies of their energy consumptions pre and post energy improvements."

Personal story:

My day job is a researcher and consultant for organic agricultural and horticultural which was a big help as energy saving, and on-farm renewable energy production is a major issue for this industry, although on a larger scale then domestic.

Motivations:

Initially we were forced to do repairs, then we thought while we are at it we may as well make it fit for a post-oil future. So it wasn’t foremost the green credentials which motivated us it was rather the perspective to make ourselves immune from rising oil and electricity prices.

In addition, we visited other homes in the network and had lots of visitors during open days, sharing knowledge and learned from them, and giving a couple of BBC interviews.

Property background:

We bought the nearly 200 year old house in 2008 at the peak of the recent property bubble – and then the Grade II listed house had also dry rot and rising damp! However, what looked like a very bad start turned slowly into a “super home” which is snug and very cheap to run.

The dry rot and rising damp helped with the decision to insulate the suspended ground floor and later concrete infillings of other parts of the ground floor. We also insulated all downstairs and upstairs walls from the inside. Yes, it can be messy but in a listed building with solid walls it’s the only option and now the reduced heating bills are paying back any initial hassle.

We also replaced the old hot-water tank and added a solar hot water panel in 2009. We picked the UK-made Riomay evacuated tube, and the most efficient panel on the market (according to independent Swiss tests). This meant covering only a small roof area of the listed slate roof. Being used to solar we were quick and got two further PV solar systems from the same installer when the feed-in-tariff was introduced: one 2.4 kW on an outbuilding and the other 1.6 kW on the main roof. Each of them needed a separate listed building consent but you get used to it and its less paperwork than expected. Again, we invested in efficiency (a Japanese Sanyo HIT panel and a German SMA inverter) which meant only a smaller percentage of the roof is covered with solar.

So far all the solar technology is working fine, however for the hot-water panel to be efficient, it required a larger pump then originally installed. We continued the insulation job with secondary double-glazing (fitted to the inside of the original windows) and propping up the loft insulation with sheep wool from the Lake District. Once reasonably well insulated (an old listed building can not be sealed like a ‘Passive-Haus’) we got two 4.5 kW smoke free exempt efficient HWAM wood burning stoves. They are Danish and adhere to the strict Nordic emission standards, but the main advantage is that they are small and you can regulate the heat output, as stoves can easily overheat a well insulated building. We kept the gas boiler as a back-up and, maybe, they too will become vintage in a post-oil and gas world?

Key changes made:

• K glass secondary double glazing to improve solar gain
• Downstairs walls dry lined with 50 mm insulation
• Following dry rot repair downstairs floors insulated (100 mm)
• 300 mm sheep’s wool loft insulation
• One Riomay evacuated tube solar thermal panel on main roof
• 2.6 kWp, 12 photovoltaic panels (Sanyo HIT & SMA) inverter on garden building
• 1.4 kWp, 6 photovoltaic panels (Sanyo HIT & SMA) inverter on main roof
• Two smoke free exempt wood burning stoves with soapstone to store heat (HWAM 2 x 4.5 kW)
• Solar lights, LED-GU10 replacements or standard low energy light bulbs
• Two solar light tubes- one in the bathroom one over the stairs
• A++ fridge freezer and dishwasher, induction hob, rechargeable cleaning robot, solar radio
• Mechanical and solar garden tools: lawn mower, chainsaw, autovent, lighting
• Water saving devices include; Two water butts in garden, water saving in all toilets, grey water recycling pipe

Measures installed in detail:

  • Eco-materials
  • Following dry rot repair downstairs floors insulated (100 mm)
  • Downstairs walls dry lined with 50 mm insulation
  • A++ fridge freezer and dishwasher, induction hob, rechargeable cleaning robot, solar radio
  • K glass secondary double glazing to improve solar gain
  • 2.6 kWp, 12 photovoltaic panels (Sanyo HIT & SMA) inverter on garden building
  • 1.4 kWp, 6 photovoltaic panels (Sanyo HIT & SMA) inverter on main roof
  • One Riomay evacuated tube solar thermal panel on main roof
  • Two solar light tubes- one in the bathroom one over the stairs
  • Water saving devices include; Two water butts in garden, water saving in all toilets, grey water recycling pipe
  • Two smoke free exempt wood burning stoves with soapstone to store heat (HWAM 2 x 4.5 kW)
  • 300 mm sheep’s wool loft insulation
  • Solar lights, LED-GU10 replacements or standard low energy light bulbs
  • Mechanical and solar garden tools: lawn mower, chainsaw, autovent, lighting
Benefits of work carried out:

During of the listed building consent we also made a compromise between aesthetics and the most efficient placement of the PV panels We think this less ideal placement of the PV panels on the roof has reduced their output by about 10-20%, however being less exposed to solar radiation they may last equally longer, which we will know in 25 years. We think it was good making those compromises on a listed building, although in our case no panel can be seen from any public view, besides on aerial photography.

Everything worked besides the pump for the efficient solar hot water panel, which was initially too small.

Favourite feature:

Our favourite features are the Sanyo HIT panels and SMA inverter, a fit-and-forget technology (although don’t forget to cash the cheques!). Solar PV is an absolute no-brainer for every house, shed or garden (not only with south-facing walls). Producing energy at point of consumption always makes sense when considering the large inevitable losses in the electricity grid. However, since we produce more then twice as much energy as we consume we are happy to feed it into the grid were it is used by our neighbours.

A favourite with visitors are the two Solartube light tunnels, which bring daylight into our landing and bathroom.

Project update:

We think there is little more we can do on “hardware”, the installation and fitting, maybe topping up the insulation in the loft or replacing the first generation energy saving lamps with the second. However we have done a lot of “soft” changes – meaning behaviour. We use battery powers tools (strimmer, chainsaw…) in the garden, which we charge during daytime with our own solar panels. The same is done for tablet computers, cleaning robot or we may buy extra batteries to store the solar harvest.

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.

Unassessed

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.