1920s End terrace,Bishopston
Extensive transformation of a 1928 end-of-terrace. This unique project combines a vast range of innovative retrofit and new-build measures, almost completely self-installed by the owner.
Adults: 2 Children:
Construction: Solid and cavity brick
Type: End terrace
This 1928 (originally) three bed end of terrace has undergone a colossal transformation over the last 7 years.
It now showcases a fascinating array of technical measures, featuring particularly comprehensive and innovative insulation techniques, a large heat store fed by locally-gathered wood supply and air source heating, an impressive solar PV and hot water array and battery storage!
The corner property has much more land than normal and has been greatly extended with a view to making it comfortable to grow old in whilst making it low maintenance.
To this end, the new extension incorporates the underfloor insulation into the brickwork to extend the airtight envelope, while the original walls have been insulated externally to ensure no heat is lost.
Added comfort comes from the mechanical ventilation system, which cleverly recovers heat from the air in each room to be redistributed when needed, while circulating fresh air throughout.
In 2019 John installed the air source heat pump to replace the overly hot woodburner at the beginning and end of winter.
He has also recently added a further 1.4Kw capacity of solar PV and introduced battery storage in the form of a Tesla Powerwall 2. These developments mean he has no restrictions on when he can use solar generated power and can even earn him money by exporting power back to the grid.
After living in the home for 35 years, John found: “the prospect of continuing to maintain the current structure and paying to heat the house to an increasingly high desirable temperature until our eventual passing was reaching a critical decision point.”
“To save costs and fill my time in retirement I decided to do most of the work myself.” Recounts owner, John. “However, my wife decided she also wanted the project finished in our lifetime so bricklayers and carpenters were employed for some of the jobs.”
John’s engineer’s vision has resulted in some quite extraordinary features, including a tree centrepiece to the staircase, a surprising Narnia-style hidden doorway and stunning use of window structures.
Amazingly, despite overhauling the entire structure, John has undertaken the majority of the work by himself without ever having to move out of the property.
He’s removed all the problem structures – roof, rear and side extensions – and rebuilt to current best standards of energy consumption and comfort performance.
The result is a home brimming with stunning open-plan spaces and almost non-reliant on mains electricity and gas.
The lifestyle changes have been enjoyable for John; he enjoys regular excursions for new sources of wood fuel in his local area.
When it comes to planning permission always count on it taking longer than you think and ask for a lot more than what you want.Homeowner, 2015
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How this house performs
The chart for 2019 case studies shows the household’s annual energy consumption and generation data compared to Ofgem’s Typical Domestic Consumption Values - industry standard values for the annual gas and electricity usage of a typical domestic consumer. For more info click here.
In the draft EPC assessment the energy performance rating was expected as C, which is disappointing after John’s interventions. However, after digging into the detail further, its clear that many of the approaches applied by John are not available options on the EPC data sheet and therefore a less energy efficient alternative option had to be allocated for the work.
This has down played the thermal and heating properties of his underfloor heating system for example. In addition, it must be noted that all energy usage on EPCs is based on an average consumption level. John has demonstrated by his recording of energy consumed and generated that his figures are almost 2/3 less than the national average.
Whilst energy performance certificates are useful tools for determining how energy efficient a potential new house purchase maybe, they should be seen as more of a guide about existing performance whilst demonstrating opportunities for where improvements can be made. And of course, if you are an engineer its likely you’ll be looking for innovative new solutions to take it to the next level like John has.
The recent CHEESE thermal image survey did however serve to highlight the positive impact on heat-loss of the insulation and airtightness work.
The house is noticeably much more comfortable – the air is always fresh and the fuel bills are substantially reduced. The sound from outside is also greatly reduced.
¹ Based on Ofgem’s Typical Domestic Consumption Values - industry standard values for the annual gas and electricity usage of a typical domestic consumer.
² Based on 3kWhrs/Kg of wood collected by John from nearby sources