SuperHome Database

Welwyn, Carleton Rise

House Summary

Tony and Patricia Almond

House Type:
1968 2-storey 5-bedroom detached

Carbon saving:
66% - SuperHomes Assessed  

  • Welwyn SH Rear Garden
  • living roof and rainwater_welwyn_carleton rise
  • Welwyn SH Rear Garden

Measures installed:

  • Cavity Wall Insulation
  • Condensing boiler
  • Double Glazing
  • External Wall Insulation
  • Floor Insulation
  • Green Roof
  • Loft Insulation
  • Low Energy Appliances
  • Low Energy Lighting
  • Solar PV Panels
  • Solar Water Heating
  • 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. Tony may also be able to accommodate visitors by appointment. Please read ‘more on contacting this SuperHomer’ before you make contact.

Personal story:

In 2006 I was given a DVD of the film “An Inconvenient Truth” which my wife and I found the issues the film raised greatly alarming.  In 2006 I was made redundant and started my own business ‘Planet Energy Solutions’ in Welwyn, Hertfordshire to promote the understanding and take up of the newly emerging low carbon energy systems.

This is done through morning consultations, lectures & seminars and by following through to arrange the installation of a wide range of energy saving and low carbon systems for a growing number of domestic and commercial clients.

It was always our intention to practice what I preach and, as money became available my wife and I have incorporated into our own house many of the sustainable living systems I promote in a practical way that does not obstruct our way of life. We feel we have done almost everything we practically can and find the house costs very little to run.


After seeing the film “An Inconvenient Truth” and being truly alarmed at the issues we face and inspired by the ‘Good Life’ approach to living, we wanted to practice sustainable, low impact living in a practical, modern way. We started with the easy things then moved on to those requiring some outlay and eventually to larger, long term investment in low carbon technologies that now earn us an income. It has become a way of life now and we find we live well on very little and take pleasure in that knowledge.

Property background:

This 5 bedroom, detached house was constructed in 1968 and remained as built with minimal maintenance until we bought it in 1991. We immediately replaced the rotting single glazed wooden windows for UPVC double glazing and after a few attempts to repaint and repair the external wood finishes all of the facias, soffits and extensive shiplap cladding was replaced with UPVC as part of an extension project in 1994. Little more was done after that, other than to increase loft insulation for comfort reasons.

In 2000 we moved to Canada and on our return realized this house was far from energy efficient by modern standards.  Since 2006 we have slowly upgraded and improved almost every aspect of our living style with a focus on reducing our environmental impact, and with it the use on and cost of fossil derived fuels.

On joining the SEA in May 2010 the house achieved an Energy Efficiency rating of 85/100 (B) and an Environmental Impact rating of 81/100 (B), which we are very pleased with. Since then we have done more work so assume a fresh assessment would show we have improved on these figures.

In 2010 we won “Environmental Household of the Year” and “Environmentalist of the Year” at the Hertfordshire Green Awards and an Apple Green Award in 2011.

Key changes made:

The main changes we made to reduce our carbon emission were to increase thermal efficiency, install a modern condensing combi gas boiler, solar thermal and solar PV systems and a rainwater harvesting system. We have not been able to do everything we would like but there is only so much more you can wring out of a given situation without it becoming an obsession!

So we have turned our attention to home food production to reduce our food miles. We bought two large greenhouses and turned a large part of the garden over to food production and now produce most of our vegetables, a good amount of fruit, eggs & honey, and we buy a locally grown carcass (either ½ a lamb or pig) in November, which is stored in our solar powered freezer!

Measures installed in detail:

• Cavity wall insulation
• Remeha Avanta condensing gas combi boiler with fully modulating and weather compensating controls serving radiators with individual TRV’s
• Argon filled double glazing with new UPVC front door unit
• Argon filled double glazing in old UPVC window frames
• External wall insulation below UPVC cladding
• Underfloor insulation on ground floor with 100mm Kingspan
• Loft fully insulated with 250mm of insulation between the joists, but I intend to increase this further this summer by fitting 70mm kingspan between the rafters
• Low energy lighting has been installed throughout
• 2500 litre Rainwater harvesting system collects and stores water for use in the garden
• 25sqm Living Sedum Roof above the carport
• 3.96kWp Solar Photovoltaic System generating c.4000kWh/yr (c.130% of our annual power demand)
• 27 tube, Solar Thermal Domestic Hot Water collectors to a 200 litre hot water thermal store generating c.2000kWh/yr of heat
• We use a rotary washing line in spring/summer/autumn to dry clothes
• We use an air-to-air heat pump dehumidifier to dry clothes in the winter rather than a tumble drier, which used 10 x the energy
• We buy low energy electrical appliances that can be repaired and then use them until they are very old
• We grow our own fruit and vegetable on site to reduce food miles
• We generate very little food waste but what we do is fed to chickens or composted, and is eventually used on the garden
• We keep bees which produce c.70-100lb/yr of honey
• We keep chickens which produce a surplus of eggs every year
• We have recycled almost all our household waste since 1995
• We joined a local scrap-store

Benefits of work carried out:

Our gas, electricity and water consumptions have been reduced to c.25% of those metered in 2004. Increasing thermal insulation in the loft, cavity and under the floors, replacing a 17 year old gas boiler for a modern condensing combi-boiler with fully modulating reducing the heating circulation temperature to 56°C and installing a solar thermal DHW heating system has seen our annual gas consumption fall by 50% on that consumed in 2004.

A number of electricity reduction measures, chiefly switching things off when they are not needed, replacing filament light bulbs for low energy types and replacing old appliances for ‘A’ rated versions reduced our electrical demand to about 20% of that consumed in 2004.

The installation of a 3.96kWp solar PV array to our south facing roof slope, means we currently generate about 30% more electricity than the house now consumes. The financial benefits we receive due to this cover the annual cost of gas and water.

We grow a lot of our own vegetables which requires a lot of water for gardening, so installing a rainwater harvesting system which collects from every conceivable source has reduced our water consumption considerably and means we do not have to worry about possible water shortages or hose-pipe bans in summer.

By reducing, re-using and recycling within practical boundaries, self generation of heat, power, water, food and by adopting low impact living methods we find we enjoy a ‘Good Life’ that costs little and brings huge benefits and satisfaction.

Business name:

Planet Energy Solutions

Business overview:

Planet Energy Solutions specialize in the design & installation of Sustainable Energy and Living systems, offering homeowners and businesses sound, experienced advice and quality systems on a wide range of Low or Zero Carbon solutions.

The complete package can be offered from pre-design consultation through to installation. SuperHomer Tony Almond regularly opens his Welwyn SuperHome to the public.

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.