SuperHome Database

Oxford, Benson Place

House Summary

Tim Nicholson and Joanne Bowlt

House Type:
Four bed 1960’s end of terrace

Carbon saving:
86% - Remote Assessed  

  • fire
  • insulation

Measures installed:

  • Cavity Wall Insulation
  • Draught-proofing
  • Floor Insulation
  • Internal Wall Insulation
  • Low Energy Appliances
  • Low Energy Lighting
  • Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery
  • Roof Insulation
  • Solar PV Panels
  • Solar Water Heating
  • Water Saving Devices
  • Wood Stove

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.

Personal story:

In 2004/05 we undertook a “very silly adventure” and drove  from Oxford, England, to Oxford, New Zealand, in a 1954 Morris Oxford car fundraising for the Red Cross.  During the journey we became more aware of environmental issues across the world.  On our return to Oxford, England, we learned more about climate change and embarked on a journey to cut our carbon emissions.  We have made significant changes to our lives to live more sustainably.


We considered buying a site for a new build home but decided it would be more worthwhile (and in Oxford much easier and cheaper) to do a refurbishment.  The existing housing stock is where the challenge really lies.

We wanted to make our home warm, comfortable, economical to run, energy efficient, low carbon and healthy.  We were also concerned to consider sustainability and ethics in the sourcing of our materials.

Also see:
Property background:

The house was built in 1967 as part of a small development of 13 mid-town houses in central north Oxford.  The houses are two storey of brick and block construction with concrete tiles on pitched roofs.  There are three terraces with private gardens, a garage court and a shared central green space.  As was common at the time energy efficiency was not considered to be important and very little insulation was installed at the time of construction.

We bought the house in 2010 with the intention of undertaking a significant refurbishment which would include making it much more energy efficient.

Key changes made:

We significantly changed the ground floor layout making most of the space open plan with an integrated kitchen, dining and living room.  We also reconfigured the downstairs cloakroom and cupboards to provide a lobby and separate WC/utility/shower room.

During the refurbishment we replaced almost all the services including; electrics, plumbing, drainage, fitted new windows and disconnected from the mains gas supply.

Full details of measures installed-

Solar PV: 12 x 323kWp Sunpower E20 black frame panels with Aurora inverter

Solar thermal: 3 x Viridian V30 3m2 Clearline flat plate panels

Thermal store: Xcel Heatbank 300 litre store from Thermal Integration.  Inputs: wood burning boiler stove, solar thermal and 2 x 3kW immersion heaters.  Outputs: under-floor heating, first floor radiators, towel rails, domestic hot water.  Heat dump to garden log store.

Wood burning boiler stove: Morso DB15.  Max 9kW to water and max 6kW to room.

Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR): Paul Focus (F) 200.  Extracts; bathroom, shower-room and kitchen.  Supply: bedrooms and living room.

Wall insulation: on the side and back of the house; new brick wall to form second insulated cavity; 2 x 100mm Rockwool Cavity bats (Lambda 0.037 W/mK).  New bricks ‘tinted’ to match original.

Floor insulation: we broke up the original concrete floor slab and dug it out along with the material beneath to give us enough room to fit two layers of 100mm KayCel 103 EPS 70 (Lambda 0.038 W/mK).  We cast a new 150mm concrete floor slab over the top with wet under-floor hearting pipes in the slab.

Roof insulation: we installed 280mm of Rockwool Rollbat (Lambda 0.044W/mK) in the pitch of the roof using a suspended ceiling made from OSB and a further 100mm of Rockwool Rollbat between the ceiling joists.

LED lighting: with Save Money cut Carbon we installed a variety of LED lights throughout the house including:

–          5W ECO-LED Zep 1 12v dimmable (down-lighters)

–          Falcon LED GU10 5W Single Chip Spotlight 240v (down-lighters)

–          Verbatim LED Classic A B22 10W (pendants)

–          10W LED floodlight

–          LED strip light (stairwell)

–          Carina LED light 18W (bathroom and shower-room)

–          LED mirror light with demister pad and shaving socket 36.7W

Water saving taps and showers: Hansgrohe EcoSmart products:

–          Raindance Select S120 shower (9 litres/min)

–          Cromo 220 overhead shower (9 litres/min)

–          Crometta 85 Green 1 jet hand shower (6 litres/min)

–          Talis E single lever basin mixer (3.5 litres/min)

Water saving lavatories:

–          Twyford Gallerie wall hung WC Flushwise dual flush 4/2.6 litre

–          Ifo wall hung ES4 Dual flush 4/2.7 litre

Water saving bath:

–          105 Classic Duo Kaldewei 110 litres (average displacement 70 litres)

–          Steel enamel

–          30 year guarantee

Sustainable materials:

Bamboo flooring (ground floor) by Moso Bamboo Surfaces

Bamboo kitchen drawer and door fronts by Moso Bamboo Surfaces

Recycled glass kitchen worktop by Resilica

Earthborn Clay paint

Treatex Oil on kitchen drawer and door fronts

Cork flooring in bathroom by Granorte

Tiles in shower-room from a nearby skip

Timber windows from Greensteps

Measures installed in detail:

  • Triple glazing
  • New brick walls to form second cavity
  • Internal insulation
  • Roof insulation
  • Floor insulation
  • Solar PV
  • Solar thermal
  • Wood-burning boiler stove
  • High level of insulation
  • High level of airtightness
  • MVHR
  • Thermal store
  • LED lighting
  • Water saving taps, showers, WCs
  • Energy efficient appliances
Benefits of work carried out:

Following our refurbishment we no longer use any fossil fuels in our home.  The house is warm, comfortable and draught free.  The new layout on the ground floor is a significant improvement.

Given our use of solar thermal panels and the wood burning boiler stove we have a much greater awareness of our energy use.

Favourite feature:

Our multi coloured flashing LED strip light – its great fun!

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.