SuperHome Database

London, Du Cane Road

House Summary

Jurgen Huber and Zoe Allen

House Type:
1920 brick cottage style mid terrace house

Carbon saving:
67% - Remote Assessed  

Reported saving on bills:
£500 or 50% without PV installation

Total invested:
£4000 without Conservatory and PV installation

  • Huber SH pv1
  • Huber SH bathroom
  • stairs
  • London Du Cane Rd – Air Source HP
  • London Du Cane Rd Bunks
  • London Du Cane Rd Conservatory 2
  • London Du Cane Conservatory
  • London Du Cane Rd 3
  • Wood Stove
  • Air Source Heat Pump
  • Air Source Heat Pump Blower
  • Filament LED bulb
  • Induction Hob
  • SuperHome Jurgen Huber
  • Solar PV – SuperHome JH
  • SH 178 new
  • new rear 2

Measures installed:

  • Ceiling insulation
  • Double Glazing
  • Draught-proofing
  • Floor Insulation
  • Heat Pump (Air Source)
  • Internal Wall Insulation
  • Loft Insulation
  • Low Energy Appliances
  • Low Energy Lighting
  • Roof Insulation
  • Solar PV Panels
  • 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.

What visitors are saying

"Amazed about the various technologies employed but also about sustainable materials such as linoleum design and general feel."

"Beautiful house and such a good example of what you can do with limited finances. Jürgen really knows his stuff and keeps updating his knowledge which you can then recapture on his detailed SuperHomes website page.”

Personal story:

Please find product details in the section ‘What worked’, copy & paste links into your browser.

Everything is written with the very best intention and only reliable sources have been consulted!
Do carry out your own research, what worked for me does not necessary work for you and products do change!
Know your limits, DIY is not DIY for everybody.
Don’t endanger yourself or others.

We as a family of four live here in an incredibly energy efficient setup energy/carbon neutral whilst still living in comfort using dishwasher, washing machine etc.
It’s remarkable that our 3.34kw pv system produces in 7-9 months of the year more electricity that a family of four uses, even on cold sunny winter days the system produces enough to cook and heat. Over the year the system produces some 3300kw/h and that is pretty much what we use.
Because we buy our energy from a small renewable only electricity supplier we live truly energy/carbon neutral.

We spend as little as £4k and a couple of hundred hours work to increase energy efficiency by nearly 70% while the bank financed a pv solar system. The combination of very good insulation, energy efficient appliances a pv system and last but not least and AIR to AIR source Heatpump make this house energy/carbon neutral. Since first written in 2014 we installed new energy efficient windows and in May 2016 a 5kw/h battery bank.

There is no gas connection (fracking not in my name), an instantaneous water heater heats only the water needed, there is an energy efficient induction cooker and an DIY fit inverter air-to-air source heat pump, energy efficient electric underfloor heating for room heating. The decorative wood burner is pretty much decoration.

Its beyond me that set ups similar to mine and PV solar on roofs are not more promoted as it would help to clean up London’s air!!! There are thousands of m2 suitable roof space along Du Cane Road and West Way combined with more electric car charging point to balance the surplus of electricity during day we will get pollution down. People will get free fuel… free charging during day and pay at night. Install a CHP in the nearby hospital or prison and we can balance the grid locally without costing the earth. We need electric car charging points to convince people to dump their fossil one.

The future is here, no more waiting for tomorrow.

Before converting this house, we lived on numerous boats and barges for over 15 years and cruised extensively the British canal system. My wife got me into boating as she had been living on various boats for a few years before we met. During our time living on the canal we bought and restored several boats and cruised the canals and rivers. The most memorable experience was cruising a narrow boat we bought in Llangollen all the way via Chester to London over many weekends, mooring here and there.

Over 10 years ago we designed and fitted out a beautiful wide-beam barge but because of ongoing uncertainties concerning many aspects of our lives we very reluctantly sold the boat and moved onto dry land. Moving into this terrace house came as quite a shock, everything seemed dark and depressing, we missed our old boat and canal life in particular the space and light.

The practical experience I had gained previously of altering, fitting out, and designing boats/barges such as ‘l’aube et crépuscule’, ‘bauhaus’ and the contacts I had made, helped a great deal in converting this house. I have also a ‘Meister’ in cabinetmaking and have in the past supervised the building of high quality prefabricated energy efficient homes on the continent. Being involved from the early nineties with friends in the renewable energy and sustainability sectors helped further.

I have been working now for many years in the heritage sector and as part of my 9-5 job I advise also on energy efficiency and sustainability so it is not surprising that I find myself sometimes advising boaters and friends. I hope, by having converted this house on a very small budget to energy/carbon neutral I can convince others to follow suit.

Cooking/heating with electricity may seem at first wrong and is certainly wasteful if it has been produced conventionally but if the electricity comes from genuine renewable sources such as wind and solar there is no problem. Often nuclear power or fracking are portrait as bridging technologies but that’s not true and many countries have proven that decarbonisation using genuine renewables is possible within years not decades.
The future is here renewables such as wind and solar deliver now!

For those interested in more balanced and factual reporting concerning renewables, fossil including fracking and nuclear supplement your news diet with that’s the equivalent of BBC world service equivalent of BBC

I sincerely hope that press, public and politicians will start nourishing a more meaningful factual and less emotional debate regarding energy generation and supply, have a 2017 evidence/facts based debate not debating current or past projections/estimates.

Data from around the globe show that wind and solar in fact complement each other, (no storage issue) and all we need for the near future is more of both and importantly a grid which can distribute the electricity efficiently. Denmark harvests nearly 50%, Spain over 20% and Scotland over 60% of its electricity from wind, all installed in one decade. While the running (free fuel) and installation cost of genuine renewables have steadily declined the running, maintenance and disposal cost of nuclear and fossil have steadily increased. Now we have not even applied the ‘polluter pays principle’… The cost of storing nuclear waste is enormous and there is not one successful decommissioning of a nuclear plant in the world, neither a permanent long term resting place for any of the waste.

If it all goes to plan we will subsidise yet another nuclear folly with billions in exchange for some electricity to be on the grid by 2023. To put it in perspective, the 16 nuclear reactors currently on the grid in the UK produced under 64 Terawatt hours of energy in 2015 or 18.87%. By contrast Renewables in the UK produced in 2015 nearly 25%.

The 2015 World Nuclear Industry Status Report is neither challenged nor disputed by the nuclear industry.

So if you want to reduce carbon emissions quickly, reduce our dependents to foreign fuel and investment, create a decentralised energy network, create employment for many, distribute wealth, inspire others and have a thriving sustainable future genuine renewables are the answers!
Here something on subsidies and the ‘polluter pays principle’ has not even be applied yet:

The link below shows you real time (some hours delayed) and historical data of electricity generation in Germany, import and export. All installed in just over a decade, benefiting the trade balance and not ruining the country.

Here some data concerning my own energy/electricity generation and supply:
01/06/14 our 3.34 kw system, 16 square meters facing south east 82% of maximum (facing south 100%) produced a record of 22.2kwh
24/1/15 a cold sunny winters day 10kwh
22/2/14 the system produced 13kwh
July 2013 record of 456kwh highest ever monthly electricity production followed by 455kwh in July 2014

June 2014 we bought/imported 103kwh from our renewable only electricity supplier
January 2013 with 75kwh the lowest monthly production followed by December 2013 with 83kwh.
The lowest ever produced was nil when we had panels covered with snow and very low light levels, this happened only on 8 days over the last four years
January 2015 we bought/imported a record of 894kwh and 603kwh in February 2014
In 2013 the system produced from March until October more electricity than we used, in March 2014 we produced 318kwh and used 310
Between the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 I harvest less energy than ever but by the end of January the system produced a record of 94kwh

May 2016 a new 5kwh Growatt Battery system was commissioned and I imported in May 86kwh the previous average for May was 130kwh.
June 2016 was truly a washout… the system produced 276kw/h against an average of 400kw/h but still curtesy to the Battery I only needed to import 90kw/h well below the average of 120kw/h. However, I did encounter various problems with the Battery system and it took me some time and effort to sort it. I am now reasonably happy but would not recommend this system but go instead for a an storage system which is installed on the AC side. As I write these lines better products hit the shelfs and are cheaply readily available.

last updated March 2017


As detailed in personal story

Property background:

Property built in the 1920 for local railway workers. The house is amazingly well designed and built. It has cavity wall brink on the outside and light concrete on the inside achieving a, for the time, very good level of insulation.


Key changes made:

Insulation, all glass conservatory, most advanced appliances and most advanced Panasonic HIT PV solar system.

Measures installed in detail:

  • glass conservatory with a U value of 1.4, giving me a huge solar gain, heating the whole house even in cold winter months. In time I will replace the glass units to higher energy efficient triple glazing
  • Various internal insulation
  • most advanced appliances such as best fridge freezer, LED, Induction cooker, instantaneous water heater, electric underfloor heating, air-source heat pump.
  • most advanced Panasonic HIT PV solar system producing ca. 3300kw/h over the cause of a year which is pretty much our usage. We have no Gas connection and as we subscribe to a renewable energy provider this means that two adults and two children live in central London energy/carbon neutral.
  • AIR to AIR source heatpump
  • Growatt battery bank
  • double glazed windows
Benefits of work carried out:

Having a luxurious 21st century property which can be quickly heated or cooled at very little cost but maintains the 1920s  character.

Favourite feature:

All features as listed below, copy & paste the links into your browser.

Everything is written with the very best intention and only reliable sources have been consulted!
Do carry out your own research, what worked for me does not necessary work for you and products do change!
Know your limits, DIY is not DIY for everybody.
Don’t endanger yourself or others.

PV solar panels differ a lot please check efficiency and long term performance and of course the appearance!!!!

The vast majority of PV solar panels have an efficiency of around 15% only the Panasonic HIT and the Sunpower e20 have around 20% efficiency. Most importantly both panels outperform all other available panels in terms of electricity generation over the course of a year by about 30%. Better still while most PV panels will give you after 25 years 80-85% of their original rating the e20 will still give you 100%. So if you have little space consider these two!

We use the Panasonic HIT solar panels which are more expensive but outperform if not all but most others in hot weather as well as cloudy conditions. The 3.34kw system occupies merely 16m² and does not even face south but south east reducing the overall performance to 82%, (100% facing south). The yearly generation estimate under these conditions is between 2600 and 2900 kw/h, but now for the third year we harvest an average of 3330kw/h of energy. The inverter is also of great importance, has to have the highest efficiency and a monitoring device or app.
Our pv panels are the Panasonic HIT with an efficiency of 19% now imagining something with an efficiency of 37 to 44%. Please see below

Because of vast improvements of production methods, the embodied energy of PV panels is recuperated within the first few years, working for decades and resources used are minimal in comparison to early ones. Additionally, everything on a panel can be completely recycled and nothing in the production and aftercare comes close to the toxicity of more established power generation.

Best get a air-to-air source heat pump which also comes at the fraction of the cost of an heat pump underfloor heating combination. You can buy a ‘easy fit’ DIY split unit from £400 and a compact portable air-source heat pump for under £300. You can also get these units professionally installed from about £300.
Do search the internet supplier change constantly.

I tried many different LED’s and nothing comes close to the ‘LED UK- filament-technology’ in terms of appearance, energy efficiency, colour rendering, etc. The 6watt is equivalent of 110watt incandescent.

Apart from the conservatory I still have single glazing in order to improve energy efficiency I applied the Enerlogic window film reducing the heat loss tremendously improving the U-value from 5 to 3. There are even YouTube videos on how to install them. These films are ideal for period glass which you like to keep. You can buy a square meter for under £10 and you also make your window nearly unbreakable. Please check the internet, products, supply and prices change constantly!!!!! On some of the windows I installed additionally polycarbonate sheeting which can also help with noise insulation. Prices from £4 a square meter.

Since first written in 2014 I have had new energy efficient windows installed to reduce further noise pollution and increase energy efficiency.

Before insulating the house I carried out calculations and checked what the walls are really made off, ensuring that I don’t trade in one problem with another. Like with everything know your limits and if in doubt seek advice. Below is the most comprehensive accurate and free online service there is. It’s German but you can choose French or English as well. The material library in these languages is not as accurate as the one in German.
Try it, not only do you get U-value but also dewpoint, heat transmission, and a lovely drawing.

Underfloor heating works very well with heat pumps but can create a terrible living environment if used wrongly. Without insulating your house/room properly the heating will run constantly cooking your feet whilst you shivering around the shoulders. This will ruin your blood circulation and you will breath in lots of dust as the dust which normally settles on your floor will float around constantly. You need to be able to heat and turn off so the heat stays in the room and dust can settle again, or create cold zones.

I used this type floor insulation combined with airtec insulation/or reflective foil with electric underfloor heating and a room cost me not even £300.

We replaced our old fridge freezer with one of the right size and checked the annual power consumption rather than just the rating and we bought our induction cooker (also called electric gas) from Ikea for about £250. These are incredibly energy efficient (nothing comes close to it) and all your pots and pans clean easier too.

We use a 10kw instantaneous water heater, not an electronic one. This means you regulate temperature with water flow. These water heater cost under £100. In wintertime you can have a hot shower but it isn’t a power shower… and hot bath in the winter is a thing of the past!
You may go for 11kw one but this coming close to capacity. If you cook your Sunday roast, heat the rooms all electric as in my case you will most certainly exceed capacity and blow your main fuse! So it’s ample usage i.e. no cooking/heating till you had your bath/shower. It helps to save electricity and water. One could go for a compact air to water heat pump £1-1300 such as the ecocent and there are many others. These are easy to install, using 250watts you heat your water in a water tank (calorifier) like with an 1kw immersion heater.

Courtesy to the feed in tariff an economy has been kick-started employing tens of thousands of people in the UK. Prices for pv and installation have fallen tremendously, our system was £12k in 2012 and in 2016 cost £5k or for £8k one can buy a 4kw system using the HIT or e20 fully installed with a 5-7kw lithium/ion battery bank. Such a battery bank would allow to be off the grid for 7-9 months, reducing the electricity you buy even further. While the installation and running costs (free fuel) of genuine renewables have steadily declined, the cost and environmentally impact of fossil and nuclear power have increased.

By June 2017 nearly 900K pv systems have been installed in the UK, overtaking the installation rate of Germany despite an illegal slashing of the feed in tariff and the bad press renewables generally get. On June 5th 2017 pv solar produced between 2-3pm some 24% of Britain’s electricity needs, not bad for something installed over just the last 5 years. Combined with wind and we could easily produce all our energy need with renewables NOW within years the technology is here, no waiting for tomorrow all its needed is political willpower ….and no, it will not ruin the UK!

In 2015 Renewables produced just under 34% of Germany electricity (that’s over 60% of Britain’s 2015 electricity needs) and exported a record amount all installed within the last 10-12 years. The CO2 emissions in Germany are now down by 25% compared to 1990 level, the lowest ever (highest CO2 reduction of any industrialized nation) and Germany exported a record amount of electricity. Now, Germany is not some Wunderland and there are many problems in particular regarding the Energiewende BUT most of these problems are of political nature.

last update June 2017

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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.