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I’ve crunched my carbon footprint, and I’ve pondered other things that I might do, but most of all I’ve had quite a lot of fun learning. Maybe it’s my engineering mindset, but I’ve made a hobby out of conservation and meter watching, and had fun out of ‘tuning’ my life a little.
You’ll find the story of my renovation on my website. There’s a comprehensive costed list of improvements made plus a series of four articles covering my experience of aerogel insulation and solar PV, monitoring and continually improving the performance of my house    .
See www.earth.org.uk for more.
The photo page right shows Edward Davey, then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, during a visit to my SuperHome, looking at aerogel. Ed was also MP for Kingston and Surbiton.
In 2016 my energy-saving start-up is crowdfunding the first consumer version of its smart radiator valve that aims to cut your space-heating bill and footprint by 30 to 50% and which is in use in my own home!
A few years ago I suddenly saw my energy bills as another performance metric that I could tweak. In fact, this whole area is full of numbers and graphs and science and gadgets and interesting techie puzzles. From aerogel and LEDs to iButtons and thermal imaging, you should see some of the fun I’ve been having!
Late 60s timber-framed council-built end-terrace house, well constructed but little insulation and lots of unplanned ventilation in strange places!
1) My home and office electricity bill is about £200per year on an all-green tariff. Gas is about £250 per year as of 2016, for me and my young family. I am saving over £1000 a year on my energy bills and I have been able to keep bills roughly flat for years.
2) The living room is much warmer in winter (and cooler in summer) and less draughty and more comfortable. It’s the safe warm focus of the home.*
3) All these energy efficiency improvements have given us the opportunity to improve the decor and lighting more than we might otherwise have done.
4) The PV has also been excellent: maintenance free, taking us carbon neutral or negative for energy, and covering all our energy bills from FiT payments so effectively eliminating them.
* This was achieved by putting a door back in from the corridor, replacing the old and failing patio doors, adding thick curtains with solar reflective blackout blinds and installing aerogel dry lining.
PV + OpenTRV; covering our raw energy needs and eliminating a huge amount of waste.
2015/10: aerogel internal wall insulation of master and rear bedroom.
2016/08: significant upgrade of the off-grid system
Updated on 20/07/2016
OpenTRV is about helping homeowners halve their space-heating bills and carbon footprint, while improving comfort, and with payback within a single heating season.
David Mansell and Ross Woodland are the builders that I use. Email david[@]mansellandwoodland.co.uk. Some plumbing stuff I organise via other routes because my next-door-but-one neighbour works at a plumbers’ merchants! We upgraded our existing cistern to dual flush.
The units I use are both Vent-Axia and if left to run all year would be about £2 in electricity charges. (The bathroom one is only on half the year though!) The units are: Bathroom: HR-25 (with humidistat) and Kitchen: Lo-Carbon Tempra
Builder or DIY with a core drill.