SuperHome Database

Norwich, Itteringham, The Common, The Mill

House Summary

Peter and Elizabeth Downs
House Type:
1778 converted mill
Carbon saving:
66% - SuperHomes Assessed  
Reported saving on bills:
Total invested:

Measures installed:

  • Double Glazing
  • Floor Insulation
  • Heat Pump (Water Source)
  • Loft Insulation
  • Low Energy Appliances
  • Low Energy Lighting
  • Roof Insulation
  • Solar Water Heating
  • Underfloor Heating
  • Water Saving Devices

  • Itteringham_Mill_microturbine
  • Itteringham_Mill_solar_thermal
  • Itteringham_Mill_Wood_Stove
  • Itteringham_Mill_windows
  • Itteringham_Mill_Rear
  • Itteringham_Mill_front

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

"Mr Downs gave us a very interesting and informed talk on all the ways he had reduced his carbon footprint. To see the water pump in action was enthralling.”

"Peter willingly gave me the full tour with a frank and honest appraisal of the innovative energy saving devices he has installed. Such an informative visit, I was impressed. "

"Excellent visit – particularly because the owner was so knowledgeable."

"Very interesting."


Personal story:

My early academic interest was natural science – primarily biology and in particular animal life and the natural world in general. However the degree I finished with was Experimental Psychology (largely as a rebellion against my personal tutor). My developing political and social interests then led me to pursue a post-graduate qualification in Sociology which was interesting but only fit me for an academic career, which by then I had lost interest in. So after a couple more years filling my time with casual jobs I did a Masters in Business, which led to a career in Management Consulting. This, in my late 40s, started to take a physical toll so I decided to quit early. I persuaded my wife (working in the Educational Sector) to move to the country for both “quality of life” reasons and the need for an engaging project to occupy myself with, not to mention the need to find something that would provide an income stream until I took my pension.  We found the Mill, which had a couple of holiday cottages attached together with the potential for some development. We both felt the Mill had a fantastic location, but for me its internal arrangement left a lot to be desired.


1. A concern about the environment and a desire to use an available resource to generate electricity. Initially environmental considerations outweighed financial considerations.  However as it turns out the project has become increasingly financially beneficial with changes in Feed in tariffs and, soon, renewable heat incentive payments.

2. A desire to create an individual home, in particular one which maximised the assets of the building, which were primarily its beautiful location.

Also see:
Property background:

There has been a Mill in Itteringham since before the Domesday Book. The current building was constructed (or an earlier building renovated) in 1778. It operated as a working mill until the early 1930s then fell into disrepair. In 1938 it was converted by the then owners, Lord and Lady Walpole, into a “gentleman’s residence”. During the war it was requisitioned by the Air Ministry and used as an officer’s mess for the Whirlwind Squadron at RAF Matlaske. Following the war, and in conjunction with the original mill owner’s cottage it was a tea stop for many mystery coach tours, also running a secondhand bookshop and vegetarian restaurant. Mill Cottage was registered as a separate residence in the early 1990s when the Walpoles sold the freehold. The Mill itself then operated as a restaurant for several years and then a restaurant with rooms, and then just a B&B, which was when we bought it.

Key changes made:

Installed hydro-turbine; relaid main roof; installed new wooden double-glazed sash windows; re-insulated main roof with sheeps wool (much better to work with than mineral wool); re-plumbed and re-wired, redesigned internal arrangement of rooms, demolished rear elevation and rebuilt using steel frame on steel and concrete piles, with a glaze curtain wall to the ground and first floor; installed heat pump and underfloor heating; installed 6 new bathrooms and new kitchen; extended rear elevation deck over millpond.

Measures installed in detail:

  • 16 sliding sash windows replaced with wooden double-glazed replicas
  • 16 casement windows similarly replaced
  • All single glazed windows on East elevation replaced with double glaze curtain wall
  • Loft insulation: 250 mm sheepswool insulation to replace degraded 50mm mineral wool
  • Roof insulation: all new roof sections have rigid foam plus mineral wool in ceiling void
  • Floor insulation: ground and first floor insulated with rigid foam (and mineral wool acoustic insulation)
  • Thermal solar panels: 40 vacuum tubes
  • Micro-hydro turbine generating max 4.5 kW and part driving water source heat pump for underfloor heating
  • Low energy lighting: mostly compact flourescents, some LED spots and LED emergency exit signs
  • All appliances are minimum A rated
  • Hob has been replaced with induction unit
  • Rainwater collection for flushing toilets
  • Zero VOC paints and wood treatments used for all new plaster and wood
  • Potentially zero carbon footprint depending on electricity imported for heat pump during winter versus electricity exported during summer
Benefits of work carried out:

There have been three key benefits from our refurbishment.  Firstly the comfort level in the house has increased enormously. The house feels warm when you come in. Our intelligent heating controls mean that we save electricity when we light the wood-burning stove, which also provides a warm, visual focus for our sitting room.

Secondly our energy costs for the year are practically zero.  Although we import electricity to run the heat pump during the winter, this is offset by the revenue we earn from generating electricity from the hydro-turbine.  When you add everything together our investments in renewables generate about £5000 value per year, from direct revenue, saved electricity costs and eliminated oil costs. When the renewable heat incentive comes in (2013?) this value will increase substantially.

Finally our generation of renewable electricity, plus the improved thermal efficiency of the building has allowed us to use lots of glass in our refurbishment.  The fantastic views around the house are now visible from practically everywhere.

Favourite feature:

The views and the natural light penetration,  followed by the underfloor heating which provides an unobtrusive, and extremely uniform comfort level.

Project update:

Currently contemplating redevelopment of our shed and greenhouse which has a south-facing roof suitable for solar electricity generation.

Updated on 05/10/2012

Business name:

Itteringham Mill

Business overview:

Itteringham Mill in the Norwich area is a guest house with a difference. It is also a SuperHome! This means it is a great place to stay if you want to find out what it feels like to live in a converted mill that has been made over 60% more carbon efficient by a major retrofit and innovative use of renewable energy.

Itteringham Mill is owned by Peter and Elizabeth Downs. The mill has been fully refurbished. A micro hydro turbine and water source heat pump have both been installed to make full use of the river that runs alongside.

You can read full details of the guest house’s green credentials here. Of course, you may also like to take the opportunity to talk to the owners about the renovation project during your stay.

For more information see

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.


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.