SuperHome Database

Oxford, Headington

House Summary

House Type:
1958 semi-detached with 2005-2008 extension
Carbon saving:
60%+ - SuperHomes Assessed  

Measures installed:

  • Cavity Wall Insulation
  • Condensing boiler
  • Double Glazing
  • Eco materials
  • Floor Insulation
  • Loft Insulation
  • Low Energy Appliances
  • Low Energy Lighting
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Reclaimed Materials
  • Renewable Energy Supply
  • Roof Insulation
  • Solar Water Heating
  • Underfloor Heating
  • Water Saving Devices

  • Headington, StLeonards_front

Upcoming events

This SuperHome is now sold and is no longer open to the public . For further information about the refurbishment carried out, please contact the SuperHomes team using the contact form below.

What visitors are saying

"Many thanks for allowing people to "invade" your home and for spending so much time explaining. An inspiration!"

Personal story:

I moved into the house in 2005 and finished my refurbishments in 2008. The importance of this house is its ordinariness – there are thousands just like it and the first aim of the project was to demonstrate how much can be achieved with a house like this.

On the 16th of June 2006 I won an Observer Ethical Award in the ‘Do-It-Yourself’ category. The £1000 prize money was initially going to contribute towards a roof mounted wind turbine, however when doubt was cast on the efficiency of these in urban areas, I used the prize money to buy a new eco boiler instead.


My motivation for eco-renovating my house is complex. The strongest driving force for me was religious. After my husband died I felt it was unethical for me to live alone in a four-bedroom house, and the garden was too big. At that time I was 73. I felt strongly that God wanted me to sell that house and buy a very ordinary three-bedroom semi to show just how much could be done to the sort of house a large proportion of the population lives in. Because I had down-sized there was money to pay an architect to do all the research. My brief was to make the house as green as possible, suitable for growing old, and with reasonable disabled access.

I care a lot for the environment – global warming and water shortages alarm me. I want a good world for my grandchildren to grow up in. Now I have a chance to act, to explore just what could be done by someone of moderate means, using available grants, to make a very ordinary house as environmentally friendly as possible. Designing efficient new buildings is more glamorous perhaps, but changing thousands of existing houses will do much more good in the short term and I hope many will be inspired to take advantage of this work.

Property background:

The house was built in 1958 as a three bedroom semi detached property.

Key changes made:

The following involved significant work:

• adding the extension to the rear of the house
• insulating both the existing house including the cavity walls, floor, loft, and roof
• installing the 3500 litre rainwater harvesting tank underground in the garden

Measures installed in detail:

• Cavity wall insulation in existing walls using rock wool
• Condensing boiler with good controls and thermostatic valves on radiators
• Double glazing throughout: Argon filled with heartwood frames, from ‘Rationel’ in Denmark
• New double glazed porch will considerably reduce the amount of heat loss from the front door
• Eco materials used: organic paint from Auro in Germany, new gutters and down pipes are zinc coated stainless steel recyclable Lindab, toilet seats made from sustainable timber
• 100mm floor insulation layering of the thermal fleece between the floor joists in the extension by Second Nature UK
• 150mm Loft insulation with Kingspan and foam backed plasterboard and Thermafleece between the joists
• Low energy appliances include an A-rated fridge to replace the old one and the airing rack (instead of a tumble drier)
• Low energy lights
• Roof insulation: 150mm thick thermal fleece between rafters, Vapour Permeable membrane on top of rafters with 50mm thick battens for cedar shingles and Canopy cedar cladding on the extension roof
• Rainwater harvesting with a 3,500 litre Freerain underground tank to catch 9/10s of the rain from the roof. This water is then used in the washing machine, for flushing toilets and for an outside tap. A top-up of 25 litres if the level drops to 1/10th
• Reclaimed materials: Ecopave Charcon, which is made from Cornish copper mining waste, was used to pave the areas around the house. Bathroom coloured glass tiles from Zimbabwe are recycled glass and old railway sleepers were used to retain soil in the garden
• Renewable energy supply from Good Energy
• 4sqm Solar hot water panels, two collectors by collectors by P.V.Systems Ltd on front roof supply hot water and significantly contribute to the underfloor heating
• Underfloor heating in the extension
• Water saving measures: new toilet has dual flush system, sink has plug on chain which is cheaper and more efficient than a pop-up waste

Benefits of work carried out:

Clothes dry very well on the airing rack because the room has under floor heating from the solar panels and stays warm through the night. They produce enough heat for this large, very well insulated room through most of the year.

One benefit of the rain water harvesting tank is that for laundry I now use about 1/3 of the detergent that hard water here requires. My water bill has reduced considerably because it is assumed that sewerage is the same as consumption, which it is not in this case!

Shower pressure is excellent and power showers would be superfluous because tanks are in the attic and hot water is maintained at mains pressure.

The height of the landing window has been doubled, giving ample natural light.

The New double glazed porch will considerably reduce the amount of heat loss from the front door.

Such a house, lived in by one person, would produce 6.8 tonnes of CO2 per year. This one now produces 2.8 tonnes, a 59% reduction.  In addition, account was taken of my lifestyle within the house (keeping it at 18°C, efficient appliances etc.) which achieves a further 19% reduction: a combined saving of 78%, i.e. producing only 1.5 tonnes CO2 per year.

Favourite feature:

Not only did I achieve a 60% reduction in Carbon emissions, I also have a lovely home, which helps to dispel the notion some people have that being green involves a spartan or uncomfortable lifestyle.

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.