SuperHome Database

Birmingham, Balsall Heath, Alder Road

House Summary

John Newson

House Type:
Victorian (1884) 2-bedroom end of terrace

Carbon saving:
83% - SuperHomes Assessed  

  • Alder Road Facade
  • Solar workshop1
  • Air Dryer_Alder Road
  • double glazing – Alder Rd
  • Solar PV on roof – Alder Rd

Measures installed:

  • Condensing boiler
  • Double Glazing
  • Internal Wall Insulation
  • Loft Insulation
  • Low Energy Appliances
  • Low Energy Lighting
  • Passive Ventilation
  • Renewable Energy Supply
  • Solar PV Panels

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

"Very useful information as I hope to implement many of these ideas in my own home in future."

Personal story:

I have been living in this house more than 20 years before I started the retrofit. I am self employed and have a PhD in Technology Policy and a City and Guilds in energy awareness.


We all have to drive down our fossil fuels as far as possible and as fast as possible to combat climate change. This was reinforced by the tornado that hit our street in 2005 which was just one example of how extreme weather events are already increasing. I have the personal carbon emissions we are all meant to have by 2050 – so I’m 40 years ahead. When it comes to my house, I thought it was pointless to pay for and waste that amount of gas. Similarly why would you not invest in PV on the roof, it was the best investment I could make and I’ve also doubled the value of the house.

Also see:
Property background:

This Victorian end of terrace 2 bed house was built in 1884. I liked the fact that the house had lots of windows and many facing south, so they let in a lot of natural light. However, the downside to this was that there was a tremendous amount of heat loss through the windows and also the solid walls. The house gained heat easily but also lost it easily, so it was very hard to heat in cold weather, resulting in poor comfort levels. One specific problem was that the end wall was beginning to move and crack, therefore I needed to do physical work to the house. It made sense to do the retrofit at the same time as this work and I was not going to do it without adding energy efficiency measures.

Key changes made:

After insulating the solid walls and installing double glazed windows, I had PV panels installed on the roof to generate my own electricity. Other energy saving changes included a new condensing boiler and low energy appliances and lights.

Measures installed in detail:

  • Gas condensing combi boiler with programmer and TRVs on radiators
  • Double-glazed windows,  low emissivity glass and timber frames
  • 100mm thick internal wall insulation board to all external walls
  • 270mm loft insulation
  • Low energy appliances
  • Low energy lights
  • Ventive passive ventilation with heat recovery unit fitted to chimney
  • Electricity supplied by Green Energy
  • 1.47kW Solar PV generating 5kWh per day double our consumption, exporting the surplus to the local grid. Panels cover 10sqm
Benefits of work carried out:

The new measures I had installed have halved my gas consumption and have also halved my water consumption. It has probably halved my electricity consumption too as I am now producing twice as much electricity as I consume in a year with my PV panels.

The property now holds heat very well; the retrofit drastically changed the heat loss characteristics of the house. It is now easy to maintain the house at a comfortable temperature – which was the whole point of all of this.

Favourite feature:

I enjoyed turning the house into a power station – seeing the sun shinning outside and seeing the electricity flowing in to the local grid and displacing the coal generated electricity that other people have to consume.

Common questions and answers for this SuperHome

Does the Ventive passive ventilation unit work well?+

Yes. The passive ventilation with heat recovery is working fine. I feel the house is fresher and drier already, with no condensation on the window, despite my drying off clothes indoors. I will never have to open a window again and it should ventilate and cool in summer. Ventive have one various awards.

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.