SuperHome Database

Leicester, Wynfield Road

House Summary

Owner(s):
G Smith

House Type:
1920’s 3 bed detached

Carbon saving:
73% - Remote Assessed  


  • Boiler stove – final
  • PV inverter and immersun – final
  • Rear of house – final

Measures installed:

  • External Wall Insulation
  • Floor Insulation
  • Loft Insulation
  • Low Energy Appliances
  • Low Energy Lighting
  • Roof Insulation
  • Solar PV Panels
  • Solar Water Heating
  • Triple Glazing
  • 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.

Personal story:

We have always been interested in trying to make positive changes to our lifestyle to achieve a balance of lower household bills alongside reducing our environmental impact, but alongside that we love old homes and want to live in a comfortable house. Having dabbled with PV’s and a wood burning stove in our last house (a small terraced house) we planned our house move to ensure that we had enough money set aside to carry out the kind of work we wanted to. We wanted to ensure that what we did was sensible, played to our strengths and included elements that we were interested in and enjoy. This led to a combination of insulation and good quality windows alongside PV’s and a wood burning boiler stove.

We looked at solar thermal but on discovering the Immersun gadget we were able to maximise our solar array and still end up with free hot water from roughly April to Sept/Oct. We chose a wood burning stove partly because we love stoves, but also because there are good local and sustainable wood suppliers. The combination of comfort and heat along with heating water in a heat store is brilliant.

Property background:

The house is a 1927 3 bed detached solid walled property. When we bought it in Oct 2012 it had single glazing, open fire places but lots of lovely original features. It did have decent levels of loft insulation and a good gas condensing boiler (which we have retained). The work to the house was a combination of modernising it (keeping original features as much as possible), sorting out various issues (e.g. the garage roof needed serious attention) and plugging the gaps (the small roof at the rear of the house didn’t have insulation).

Following this came the energy saving interventions. When we tackled the garage roof (which was a flat roof, on multiple levels with various different materials) we ran a pitched roof all the way along the side of the house and installed lots of insulation in the new roof and internally along the external walls creating a further insulated barrier between the house and the outside (thanks to Mr and Mrs Cossa for their tremendous help with this project).

Measures installed in detail:

Timber triple glazing – Argon filled triple glazing with U(window) value of 1.1. Installed by Russell Timbertech, the windows are lovely, but we would not recommend the company.

Solid wall insulation – 60mm phenolic to get U-value of walls to building regs (0.3). Installed by SERS, they were a professional company who communicated well and did a great job.

Underfloor insulation – 15-20cm Sheeps wool insulation. DIY job.

3.04kW Solar PV with linked Immersun heating water in a heat store – this device diverts any electricity being generated but not used to an immersion coil in the bottom of the heat store. Installed by Renuvo, they did a great job of the solar, providing a well priced system and linking it in with the Immersun.

Wood burning boiler stove (Dunsley Yorkshire boiler stove does 6.6kW to room and 7.9kW to water) heating the room and the back boiler that runs 3 radiators and water goes to a heat store (McDonald Thermflow 180l). Installed by Renuvo, they had less experience of linking a traditional boiler stove with a modern thermal store set up, we had to get them back numerous times but they were always happy to help. We thought we needed a company with experience of whole house renewables, but actually we would have benefitted from a company who had experience of installing a boiler stove linked into a thermal store.

Topped up loft insulation – loft insulation re-organised or topped up where necessary. DIY job.

Plugged the gaps in the insulation – particularly the small rear roof that had no insulation – it’s worth looking at the areas that won’t have been done through a particular funding scheme i.e. flat roofs over bays, extensions etc. DIY job (with most of the work being carried out by Mr and Mrs Cossa).

A-rated appliances – when we are replacing appliances we buy as efficiently as we can (affordability comes into this).

Low energy lighting throughout – LED’s instead of halogen spots in the bathroom and kitchen, CFL’s everywhere else.

Water butts (used to flush down stairs toilet via a bucket!) and other water saving devices – bottles filled with water in the toilet cisterns, pressure reducer in the shower head.

Electricity and gas bought through Ecotricity.

Benefits of work carried out:

The results are dramatic – when we first moved in (Oct 2012) keeping warm of an evening was incredibly difficult. We had the heating on as much as we could afford to, and we were still sitting under a duvet as well as being fully clothed in winter clothing. A couple of times we tried lighting fires in the open fire place but that made negligible difference, it was obvious that most of the benefit was going up the chimney.

At the end of the winter we were presented with bills adding up to around £800-900 for a 6 month period. So the result was an uncomfortable and expensive winter. We are about to enter our first full winter with all the interventions, but last winter saw some improvements – we had our windows, PV’s and stove in, and half of the winter we had the insulation on (without the render, so not working to maximum performance). Last winter was much more comfortable and much cheaper. Our house performance from 31/05/13 to 1/6/14 saw us using 2882 kWh (258.336 units) gas, and 1355 kWh electricity. We generated about 2500 kWh electricity over the same period. It will be interesting to see how things change with all works completed, and a colder winter (last winter was mild) – direct comparison will be difficult due to an increase in the numbers of people living in the house (we are now a family of four, previously being two).

The house is quieter and more comfortable, but it does take a bit more management and planning to keep costs/carbon down – we could put the gas and central heating on a timer, but the stove takes a lot more effort and that is the major effort needed to keep winter costs down – last winter we used it every night, and of course you need storage space for the wood. In contrast, the Immersun/PV/Hot Water combination is autonomous over summer and results in virtually no cost over the late spring, summer and early autumn (we have a gadget that tells us the temperature at the bottom of the heat store so that we know if we need to switch the gas on.

Favourite feature:

It is hard to pick one, as many of the decisions taken are based on it all working together.

Immersun – a great way of using electricity generated at source and a great alternative to solar thermal if you can’t afford both (it isn’t as efficient as solar thermal so it is a second best approach).

Heat store – we get mains pressure hot water from it which is a bit of a luxury, but it is also the hub of the heating and hot water, with multiple inputs – gas boiler, wood boiler stove and immersion coil served from the PV’s. We also fitted a digital thermometer to the bottom of the tank so that we know if we need to top up, this will also help when we have the stove on so that we don’t overdo it!

Good quality windows and bi-folds – these are great – they look fantastic and are great at keeping the heat in, properly installed they also eliminate drafts and being timber they should last way longer than UPVC (the original windows had managed to last 86 years, 1 word of warning – there was one window that had been replaced with a cheap timber DG window, it can only have been in for 8-10 years and was already rotting). These will need upkeep but it will be interesting to see how they do in the future.

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.