SuperHome Database

Leicester, Great Glen, Main Street

House Summary

Owner(s):
Rick and Shirley Greenough

House Type:
1978 Detached two storey house

Carbon saving:
64% - Remote Assessed  


  • front-2
  • boiler
  • trvs
  • controllers

Measures installed:

  • Condensing boiler
  • Double Glazing
  • Floor Insulation
  • Loft Insulation
  • Low Energy Appliances
  • Low Energy Lighting
  • Roof Insulation
  • Skylight
  • Solar PV Panels
  • Solar Water Heating
  • 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.

Personal story:

We moved to Leicester from Bedfordshire in 2009 with Rick’s new job, which was as a university lecturer in energy and sustainable development. We rented a house with the intention of getting to know the area and finding a house that needed renovating so that we could experience an eco-retrofit for ourselves. We are both keen DIYers so we felt that we could tackle much of the work ourselves.  We found an empty house in need of renovation, since it had not been updated at all since it was built in 1978. Our children were adults and we felt we had the time and resources to renovate the house. We bought the house in January 2010 but decided not to move in until we had completed much of the noisy and dirty work, which we did while we were renting. This included installing the new central heating system, boiler, underfloor heating, wood burning stove, kitchen, bathroom and associated plumbing, downstairs flooring, an almost complete re-wire and carpets upstairs. We decorated each room quite speedily in magnolia, reasoning that we’d do each room properly when we had lived there a while and had time to choose the colours properly. We moved into the house in April 2010 with many jobs still to do.

The next jobs we tackled were the downstairs toilet and we also completed the bathroom, kitchen and utility room and fitted a water softener. We also had the loft insulation increased to modern standards and had double-glazed windows and doors installed. We went for wooden windows at the front since we feel these suited the house this age. These windows were made by a local company with turned out to be the same company who had made the original 1978 window frames! So cut costs, we had uPVC windows installed at the back and sides and a uPVC back door.

We then tackled the en-suite bathroom by replacing the old bright purple toilet, bidet, sink and shower with modern units in white including a dual-flush toilet to save water. At this stage we insulated the space between the garage and the en-suite and also added fire-proof plasterboard in the garage.

Next we had solar thermal panels installed to feed the hot water cylinder (we had previously chosen a cylinder with two heating coils that was compatible with solar hot water heating). While the scaffolding was up, we used it to install the first of two sun-tubes. Since these are quite expensive we wanted to see whether we could get away with one instead of two.

After a year of living with solar hot water we were so pleased that we decided to use the rest of the roof for a PV installation. The reason we had not done this earlier was that we felt the house was unsuitable with its east/west facing roof, but when Rick had learned how to estimate the energy gain we changed our minds. We installed a 4kWp PV system with 10 panels on the back of the house and 4 on the front. While the scaffolding was up, we took the opportunity to install a second sun tube.

Since then, there have mainly been small modifications such as water butts, extra LED lights, a garden pond and a wood store. We now have an electric vehicle (Vauxhall Ampera) and have installed a charge point. During the week, the car is mainly used by Shirley who finds the battery range is more than adequate for commuting even in winter, while Rick usually cycles to work.

Our daughter has left home but loves coming to stay partly because the house is very cosy, especially in winter. Our son is living with us having recently completed a degree in the city and his girlfriend stays occasionally.

Motivations:

To reduce our environmental impact, save money and experience a range of retrofittable energy efficiency upgrades to see which work best for us and which might be worth avoiding in future.  

Property background:

A 1978 detached home with a double garage and a small garden to the rear. It was built by local builders and is one of three in the village of Great Glen. It had cavity wall insulation and rudimentary loft insulation when we bought it, but it also had single glazing throughout and a very inefficient boiler. One reason that we bought the house was that although it had a gas fire (that did not work) it has a chimney that looked as if it contained a flue that was suitable for a wood burner. When we moved in, it turned out to be ideal so that was one of the first jobs we tackled.

Key changes made:

  • Entirely new central heating system with under floor heating in kitchen and utility room as well as 250-litre mains pressure hot water cylinder. Cylinder allows fast filling of a bath, good showers (without waste associated with power showers) and eliminates tanks in loft. Condensing gas boiler with weather compensated controller.
  • Complete re-wire including new consumer unit and installation of four ring circuits – kitchen, upstairs, downstairs, garages. New digital TV aerial.
  • New double-glazed windows and doors throughout. Wooden windows at the front and UPVC at back. New insulated front and back doors.
  • New kitchen with new induction hob and A-rated double electric oven
  • New bathroom suite, including bath, dual flush toilet, shower, tiling and extraction
  • New downstairs toilet (dual flush) and sink
  • New en-suite to master bedroom including walk-in shower and dual flush toilet
  • New engineered oak flooring throughout downstairs, except kitchen and utility which have slate tiles over the under floor heating
  • New carpets upstairs except for:
    • Master bedroom and dressing room, which have new laminate flooring
    • Bathroom, which has new lino
    • En-suite, which has new tiles
  • Two sun-tubes in upstairs landing for natural light (sun or stars!) in an area with no windows
  • Wood burning stove in living room (5kW)
  • Pond in garden and extension to flagged utility area
  • Water softener feeding whole house except sink in utility room
  • Loft insulation to modern standards (270mm)
  • Insulation between garage ceiling and floor of en-suite
  • 4kWp photovoltaic (electric) solar panels
  • Two flat plate solar thermal collectors for hot water
  • LED lights in all rooms except garage which has strip lighting
  • Two water butts fed by rainwater diverters
  • Electric vehicle charger with tethered lead and Type 1 plug
Measures installed in detail:

  • Condensing boiler
  • Double glazing
  • Floor insulation
  • Loft insulation
  • Low energy appliances
  • Low energy lighting
  • Roof insulation
  • Solar PV
  • Solar water heating
  • Sun-pipes
  • Water saving devices
  • Wood stove
  • Electric vehicle charger
Benefits of work carried out:

Significantly reduced CO2 emissions and energy costs, although we did not live in the house before the refurb so this is impossible to verify. We believe the PV will have paid back over 9 years but the solar thermal panels will take much longer to pay back. Sun tubes have really improved what was a gloomy upstairs corridor but savings are negligible. Improved comfort from underfloor heating, mains pressure shower and woodburner (which is also mesmerising to look at and can be used to roast chestnuts).

Favourite feature:

Wood burning stove, due to the combination of comfort, low cost, visual appeal and ‘carbon neutrality’. The shower is a close second and underfloor heating third, both for comfort reasons.

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.