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I decided to do the refurb on the house for several reasons. While I suppose I’m environmentally-minded, I guess a large part of why I did the refurb was that the house was damp and dark when I bought it, and parts of the house (e.g. the bathroom) were freezing in cold weather, and I decided that I didn’t want to live in a place like that. In any case, I had to do a certain amount of things anyway since the house was in a fairly bad state (e.g. window frames were rotten), so I found that this was a good time to try to make it better while I was at it. The only thing was that I didn’t know much about energy efficiency or in what order to do things, so I spent some cash on a few books and read up about what I should do, after which I made a do-list and decided roughly in what order things should be done.
• 28mm gap, argon filled double glazing, U value 1.5
• 70mm thick friction-fitted foil-backed Kingspan internal insulation, U value 0.37
• 270mm thick Carbon Zero mineral wool added to loft space, U value 0.16
• 100mm thick foil-backed Kingspan friction-fitted between joists (floor insulation), U value 0.24
• 120mm thick friction-fitted foil-backed Kingspan fitted to bathroom ceiling, U value 0.12
• Ventilation test done and the result was 7.85 m3/hour/m2 before final draught-proofing was completed so the result should be better- update coming soon
• MVHR installed (Xpelair Xcell-300) with extraction from kitchen & bathroom, 91% recovery
• Remeha Condensing boiler with room Stat Programmer & TRVs
• 90% of light bulbs are energy efficiency
• Added wood burning stove downstairs in one of the fireplaces
• Water saving devices include; Ifö sink, toilet & bath which are designed to save water by design (toilet flush 2 or 4 litres)
The main improvements have been a reduction in humidity, a warmer house and better air quality. I had an injected damp course done on the whole ground floor, but what made most difference to the humidity (measured by how much condensation was on the windows) was dealing with the evaporation of water from muddy ground below the ground floor (through putting a type of gravel down, covered with plastic) – this cleared up the condensation overnight. In addition to that, I draught-proofed the whole ground floor to prevent air leaking from the crawl space into the living areas. Humidity from other sources (e.g. bathroom, breathing, cooking) is now also kept in check also by the ventilation system that extracts moist stale air and replenishes with air from outside. The humidity in the house now averages between 40 and 60% and I find that in winter when temperatures outside are lower, the system gets more efficient at reducing humidity in the house compared to summer. Regarding temperature, the house is much quicker to heat up than before due to the wall & floor insulation and draught-proofing – meaning I don’t spend much on gas.
I have three favourite parts rather than just one, since I know that these aspects go together to be effective: insulation, draught-proofing and ventilation.