The retrofit was spread over 13 years and we started it in 1998.
The main motivations for the renovation were environmental – for the long term survival of society. Of all the environmental factors the most damaging is energy because: it is running out, it produces CO2 and it raises issues of security of supply (especially since it is difficult to find alternatives). Energy in the home is one of the largest issues. Homes have the longest replacement cycle of anything we own – every 200 years.
I am already involved in energy conservation and therefore doing the retrofit was the natural thing to do. Although saving the planet is more important to me, there is a bit of a motivation to save money as well.
The Coach House is a unique Victorian dwelling in Belsize Park. There is more space on the ground floor than the first floor and I particularly like the garden and the façade. Before the refurbishments the house was a bit draughty but there was no mold and the light level was unusually good.
Some of the key aspects of the renovation included highly insulating walls, inside and out, upside-down flat roof insulation, draught proofing and double glazing. A localized air heat recovery and a condensing gas boiler with good controls and insulated pipework were also installed.
My house is much more comfortable now and I feel I have done my bit to save the world with a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions. An added benefit is that you can hardly see the difference the new measures make because they do not change the outward appearance of the house.
The fuel bills have been a lot cheaper since installing the various eco measures and we have saved a lot of money. There is also a return investment of about 5% – where else can you get a comparable deal?
My favourite feature is probably the wall insulation as it has made the house much warmer.
The plumber cut all the pipes where they went into the wall, added 100mm extensions then glued back the original pipe work. At the bottom of the pipe work he glued a joggle. The original pipe work was re-secured to the wall before the insulation was applied, using wooden stilts treated against rot.