Victorian house, Peckham
Chris and Nette.

This case study is about putting your money where your mouth is: Chris is a director of Parity Projects, and has helped to set up Ecofurb.

In 2012, he and Nette, moved from renting to a house in Peckham to accommodate their new family. They’d bought a period property which hadn’t been touched for 40 years and had needed some serious attention in most ways.

They were super keen to do a deep renovation for energy efficiency, both to help combat climate change, and to have a comfortable home after living in a cold and damp house.

The main heating was electric storage meaning that the house would have been hard to heat as well as churning out CO2. The house was (almost) detached, with a lower house on one side and an alleyway on the other, and a typical Victorian shape with exposed back rooms: all meaning that wall insulation would be especially key for comfort. Most of windows were ill-fitting, unattractive PvC casements which didn’t suit the property, and were less efficient than they should have been if properly installed.

They took the opportunity to renovate before moving in. Back in 2012, Ecofurb hadn’t been set up but they used Parity Projects’ advice report (similar to today’s Ecofurb Plan) to select which measures to install. While climate rather than payback via bills was their main motivation, they wanted to go for everything sensible and understand the cost effect rather than just throwing money at ‘eco bling’: and this is an approach that Ecofurb can help you take.

“It has easily paid back in comfort as well as bills.”

They selected to fully insulate, add solar panels and replace the electric heating with an efficient boiler, as well as put in LED lights and heat exchange extractor fans. Now almost 10 years later, with the improvement in heat pump technology and some decarbonisation of the grid, they are looking at an air source heat pump when the boiler reaches end of life.

The house they had been renting before hadn’t been insulated and this meant especially the back rooms with three external walls were cold and damp in winter, and the single glazed windows and ill-fitting door were draughty. While they liked the house, it wasn’t fun to live in throughout winter, or healthy with the condensation and mould.

Moving into their new home they felt a real contrast: it was warm and comfortable with low bills even in winter. The bathroom is at the back of the house with exposed walls and roof yet always feels cosy. Particularly, they noticed that they don’t feel those cold mornings. The wooden floors even on the ground floor lack the chilling draughts they’d never quite got use to! They also kept the character of the exterior intact by putting double glazed panes and draught proofing into the original bay sash windows, and replacing the older PvC windows with double glazed sashes.

If they move again they would look for another period property as they love older architecture, and if it wasn’t already renovated for energy efficiency they would plan to do the same again.

 

Asked what their one piece of advice to anyone planning a renovation would be, Chris said “of course I’m going to say: use Ecofurb! We’ve set up Ecofurb both to provide clear advice, and solve the problems that our advice-only customers were then experiencing with finding good contractors”.

WORK CARRIED OUT

  • External Wall insulation on the rear projection walls
  • Internal wall insulation at the front, some of the rear and exposed sides
  • Alleyway infill, creating more space as well as insulating a wall that couldn’t take internal or external insulation
  • Suspended and solid floor insulation
  • Loft and flat roof insulation
  • Double glazed panes put into period sash windows
  • Replacement doors and windows, and thin double glazing installed in refurbished bay windows
  • Through-the-wall heat recovery ventilation in wet rooms
  • High spec gas boiler and zoned heating controls
  • Solar thermal panels for hot water
  • Solar PV panels for electricity generation
  • LED lights

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