News Alert

Wondering how to further reduce your energy bills? Have a look at the HOBBS report for a few ideas.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Expertsure Solar Calculator makes it easy

22.5.2017: Expertsure Solar Calculator : I was recently alerted by Ollie Smith to this useful website, Expertsure. It includes a solar calculator, which calculates your likely return on investment for a Photovoltaic installation.
  It harnesses the imagery of Googlemaps to show you a realistic satellite view of your house. You adjust easy sliders or turnwheel to give orientation, shading risk, installation capacity. It works with current average installation pricing and feed in tariff and electricity rates to calculate the solar capture and to give you a summary of power, cost and earnings.
 It starts off by asking your postal code. You can adjust the turnwheel over your house for a complete picture.
  Although the current Feed in Tariff is not the strong incentive that it was in 2010, the calculator includes predicted savings on electricity use (provided you use it smartly, like running the ironing and washing machine during peak solar), and this makes the investment look more worthwhile.

Caveat: You need to consider how shading risk will change over the years, a small tree now could be large in 20 years time. Also, panels do decline slightly, and there are occasionally the need to replace the only 'moving part', the inverter (we hope not). Do not select an installation larger than 4kW for a domestic house. Anything larger needs enlarged meters and cabling. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

3 Nottingham SuperHomes Opening to Visitors in September 2016

3 Nottingham SuperHomes Opening to Visitors in September 2016

The pioneering owners of some of the UK's most eco-friendly SuperHomes will be opening their doors to the public this September. SuperHomes are older homes refurbished by their owners for greater comfort, lower bills and fewer carbon emissions - at least 60% less!

This year, three SuperHomes in the Nottingham area will take part. Entry is free, making this an ideal chance to talk to the home owners and receive feedback on how they successfully transformed their old homes, making them cheaper to heat and more comfortable.

1890's semi detached SuperHome in West Bridgford, click here.

One of the first ever SuperHomes, this home is still ahead of its time, with a 90% reduction in carbon emissions (lower than most new builds)!

Edwardian SuperHome in Carlton, click here.
This detached home has undergone an extensive eco-refurbishment bringing energy use and carbon emissions down below levels seen in many modern houses.

1960s detached SuperHome in West Bridgford, click here.
The poorly maintained and insulated house bought in 2000 has been transformed into a SuperHome through improved wall, floor and roof insulation as well as draught-proofing measures.

Booking in advance is essential for these free events, where visitors can expect to come away with plenty of energy saving ideas for their own home. To find out more and to register your interest visit
Photo: The exterior of one Nottingham SuperHome.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

4 Nottingham SuperHomes open to visitors in September 2015

September is the month when many SuperHomes across the UK open their doors to visitors.

This year, 4 SuperHomes in the Nottingham area will take part. As ever, it's free, and a great chance to talk to the home owners and find out what they did to make their old homes cheaper to heat and more comfortable.

1950's detached SuperHome in West Bridgford, click here. 

This 4 bedroom home has negative energy bills following a refurbishment which used the Passivhaus methodology as a guide. It is currently for sale, so September 2015 may be one of the last chances to visit (unless whoever buys it decides to take up the SuperHomes baton).

1890's semi SuperHome in West Bridgford, click here.

One of the first SuperHomes, this home is still ahead of its time, with lower carbon emissions than most modern new builds!

1900's semi SuperHomes in Beeston, click here.

A traditional home with a modern extension, and greatly reduced energy use, bills and carbon emissions as well.

Edwardian SuperHome in Carlton, click here.

This detached home has undergone an extensive refurbishment bringing energy bills, energy use and carbon emissions down below levels seen in many modern houses.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Low energy homes - to buy or to build?

Suppose you want to live in a home that is high on comfort and air quality, but low on carbon emissions, maintenance and energy bills, what are your options?

With an ultra low energy home currently for sale in Nottingham, and a number of building plots dotted around the area, it seems like a good time to weigh up the pros and cons of the various routes to living in an eco home:

To Buy?   To Build?    To Retrofit?

To Buy

The best thing about buying a low energy home is that all the hard work has been done for you. And this is a major advantage if you don't enjoy dirt and disruption.

Another big reason for buying a finished eco home rather than taking on a new build or retrofit yourself is that the sale price is a known figure - no getting half way through the project with the stress of running out of finance before it's complete.

The reality is that you'll probably have to be flexible about location. Genuine eco homes are still pretty thin on the ground and can be hard to find. As yet, there's no way of searching on RightMove for "all EPC A and B rated homes / all Passive Houses for sale in your chosen location".

However, there are websites which focus on selling eco homes, such as - where you'll find some of the eco homes currently for sale in your area.

To Build

Building a new eco home is a great idea, but it can take years of persistence to make it happen. If there's a plot for sale just where you want it (and at the right price), you're either very flexible in your chosen location, or very lucky.

For anyone who would like to live in a new build eco house, but doesn't have any experience of the construction industry, joining a community self build might be the answer. There have been some great projects around the UK. Check out the Lancaster Co Housing project which is now complete. (And by the way, one of those is for sale right now!)

To Retrofit

Buying an ordinary house and turning it into an eco home has a lot to be said for it. If you want to be in a very specific location, it may well be the only way to go.

Whatever house you are in, the common sense things like loft insulation, boiler and cavity wall insulation are always worth considering. To go that bit further, external wall insulation can make a big difference to comfort and energy bills.

However, to turn a typical UK house into a really low energy home takes more work. And if you're aiming for an ultra-low energy refurbishment such as the EnerPHit (or Passive House refurbishment standard), it will take time and money and specialist expertise.

Is it worth it?

Like most people I know already living in low energy homes, I feel that it has been worth all the effort and expense.

The level of comfort in my own home is way beyond anything I've experienced previously. If designed right, these homes can be warm in winter and cool in summer (although some are not designed to avoid overheating).

The other big difference is air quality. Mould and condensation are a thing of the past in a properly designed eco home.

My own house has a whole house ventilation system which filters the incoming air. It's quite shocking to see how dirty these filters get - and good to see what is not getting into my home and my lungs. I could add a pollen filter as well, if anyone in the family needed a haven from hay fever.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Open Homes weekend a success - and more to come!

The last weekend of April was a busy one, with 70 visits to nine lower energy homes.

High tech, low tech and home made ways to save energy were on display.

I particularly liked Jake's double-hatched loft hatch (see photo), a modification to the original hatch which was designed and made by Jake himself. The top hatch which lifts out is insulated and draught-proofed, while the lower hatch (below the ladder) is just draught-proofed.


And the event is not over yet - the tenth home, on Peverill Drive in West Bridgford, opens its doors on Sunday 3rd May at 11am. (Click here to book)

Note - full address and other details will be emailed to you after you make your booking.

On the same day there is a further chance to visit the homes on:

Patrick Road (12.30pm) - click here to book

Musters Road (2pm) - click here to book 

Harrow Road (3pm) - click here to book

So if you or someone you know would like to see these, just book your free visit.

There are further details of all these homes here 

However, if 3rd May is not convenient, there are other Open Homes events in the UK during May. The closest being this one (click here).

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Timetable of Open Homes April 2015

Homes are open on 25th and 26th April, and also 3rd May.

To see details of all the homes,  click here.

(or copy this into your browser:

For a timetable of all the homes, read on...

Saturday 25th April

10am - Musters Road, West Bridgford and Greenstone, East Leake

11.30am - Charnock Avenue, Wollaton (talk by the architect)

1pm - Belmont Villas, Beeston

2pm - Musters Road, WB  and Lady Bay Road, WB

2.30pm - Wollaton Road Beeston (talk by the architect)

3.30pm - Lady Bay Road, WB, Burnside Road, WB

For anyone wanting to visit several homes in a more or less logical order geographically, the Saturday sequence would be 10am - Greenstone in East Leake, 11.30am Charnock Avenue, Wollaton, 1pm Belmont Villas, Beeston and 2.30pm Wollaton Road, Beeston (or 3.30pm Burnside Road, West Bridgford).

Sunday 26th April

10am - Musters Road, WB

11am - Harrow Road, WB (talk by the architect) and Lady Bay Road, WB

12.30pm - Lady Bay Road, WB

2pm - Musters Road, WB, Patrick Road, WB (talk by the architect) and Greenstone, East Leake

2.30pm - Lady Bay Road, WB

3.30pm - Harrow Road, WB

4pm - Lady Bay Road, WB

For anyone wanting to visit several homes in a more or less logical order geographically, the Sunday sequence could be 10am - Musters Road, 11am - Harrow Road, 12.30pm - Lady Bay, and 2pm - Patrick Road

Sunday 3rd May

11am - Peveril Solar House, WB

12.30pm - Patrick Road, WB (talk by the architect)

2pm - Musters Road, WB

3 pm - Harrow Road, WB

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Open Homes April 2015 - Home no. 11 (Burnside House)

The eleventh home taking part in this year's spring time Open Homes event is on Burnside Road in West Bridgford.

This semi-detached house built in 1939 has been improved step by step over the last 7 years, and further work is planned.
Eco-features on display include:
  • Solar PV and solar hot water (2008-9)
  • Timber triple glazing (2014)
  • External wall insulation with government grant (2015)

For anyone considering External Wall Insulation, and interested to know more about the government's Green Deal Home Improvement Fund grant scheme that helps home owners with the cost of installation, this home and the one on Musters Road are very relevant.

This home is open on Saturday 25th April at 3.30pm

To book your free place, click here


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Open Homes April 2015 - Home no. 10 (Peveril Solar House)

The tenth home taking part in this year's spring time Open Homes event is on Peveril Drive in West Bridgford.

Peveril Solar House is a 2000's detached house. It is fairly standard in its original construction, but is far from ordinary in the renewable technologies employed. It is the UK's first entirely solar heated house, using a combination of power generation and underground thermal storage. 

Eco-features on display include:
  • Ground source heat pump drawing energy from vertical borehole
  • 6 sqm of innovative self-built sunboxes burying thermal energy 16 storeys underground
  • PV panel array producing more electrical energy than the annual heating requirement
  • Passive house style extension in SIPS panel construction
  • New - innovative composting and vertical farming systems
  • Solar dehydrator (will be on show before it gets moved to an organic farm)
  • Electrical car charging point
The home owner has developed the sun boxes as a research, design and build project, and monitored their impact, and has lectured about it, home and abroad. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about what renewables can achieve.
Other features that may be of interest is the disability adaptation of the house - sliding doors, wheel chair accessible bathroom, disable designed kitchen, platform elevator. 

This home is open on Saturday 3rd May at 11am

To book your free place, click here.

Open Homes April 2015 - Home no. 9 (Patrick Road)

The ninth home taking part in this year's spring time Open Homes event is an 1890's semi on Patrick Road in West Bridgford.

This home was possibly the first radical refurbishment in the UK. The owners have around 15 years experience of living in their low energy home since the bulk of the refurbishment was done, and have made further adjustments over time. 

The work has included:

Insulated roof with ply webs and 300 mm cellulose insulation U value = 0.12
Insulated side and rear walls with external insulation (EWI) with 140 mm EPS and render finish U=0.23
Insulated floors with natural insulation (sheep’s wool and wood fibre board)
Newly rebuilt front bay (due to severe structural movement)
Refurbished interior and front of house following house fire in 2014
Insulated front wall with 100 mm internal insulation (IWI) U=0.2
Timber triple glazing including brand new sliding sashes and fully glazed front door
Solar thermal (tubes)
Wood boiler and heat store in cellar
Heat recovery through the wall fans
Energy and water efficient appliances
Rainwater harvesting and water management
Green oak and living roof structures in garden
Two different recycled kitchens (bespoke and low cost examples)
Second hand furniture
Natural paints

LED lights (first generation and latest)

This home is open on Sunday 26th April at 11am and 2pm 

And on Sunday 3rd May at 12.30pm

To book your free place, click here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Open Homes April 2015 - Home no. 8 (Holwell House)

The eighth home taking part in this year's spring time Open Homes event is a 1940's end terrace in Holwell near Melton Mowbray.

This home has had to be withdrawn

There are others with some similar features such as 

Greenstone in East Leake.

So far, the owners have installed:
- low energy lighting
- PV panels on the roof linked to a system that diverts spare electricity from the roof to heat water.

They installed the PV panels in December 2014 so know how the system will run through the winter (the worst months for PV) and are no doubt hoping for a sunny summer!

Open Homes April 2015 - Home no. 7 (Wollaton Road)

The seventh home taking part in this year's spring time Open Homes event is an 1870's semi-detached house, now in the later stages of the refurbishment project and with a large side extension added.

The work included:

High levels of insulation throughout including external wall insulation - in progress
Mechanical ventilation with Heat Recovery system
Solar thermal hot water system with large thermal store - in progress
Underfloor heating throughout, fed from thermal store - in progress
All windows high performance triple glazed

Solar Photovoltaics

This home is open on Saturday 25th April at 2.30pm (and the architect will be giving a talk and answering questions)

To book your free place, click here.

Open Homes April 2015 - Home no. 6 (Charnock Avenue)

The sixth home taking part in this year's spring time Open Homes event is a 1930's bungalow in Wollaton.

It has been extensively refurbished to near Passive House standards. The work includes: 

- insulation, air tightness and a ventilation system with heat recovery

- modern gas boiler and solar hot water system with large thermal store

- LED lighting and water efficiency

This home is open on Saturday 25th April at 11.30am

To book your free place, click here.


Open Homes April 2015 - Home no. 5 (Harrow Road)

The fifth home taking part in this year's spring time Open Homes event is a 1950's detached house in West Bridgford.


It was extended and refurbished using the Passive House refurb standard (EnerPHit) as a guide. The works include: 

External wall insulation with render and some brick slips
Super-insulated loft conversion (insulation above and between rafters)
300mm insulation between ground floor slab
Triple glazed doors and windows, quad glazed roof light
Air tightness just over 1 ACH (extremely draught-proofed)
Whole house MVHR (mechanical ventilation with heat recovery)
Replaced all light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs

Installed 3.2 kw solar PV system
Low water use features

This home is open on 11am and 3.30pm Sunday 26th April and at 3pm on Sunday 3rd May
To book your free place, click here.


Thursday, March 05, 2015

Open Homes April 2015 - Home no. 4 (Lady Bay)

The fourth home taking part in this year's spring time Open Homes event is a 1930's semi-detached house in West Bridgford.

In 2014 it was extended and refurbished. The works include:

New gas boiler and controls
New double glazed windows and doors
Additional loft insulation (including loft hatch)
Through-the-wall fan with heat recovery installed in the bathroom
Internal insulation (front elevation)
External insulation (back and side elevations)
Single storey extension (cavity wall construction to building regulations)
Solar PV panels fitted to south and east facing roof

This home is open on Saturday 25th April (2pm and 3.30pm) and Sunday 26th April (11am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm and 4pm).

To book your free place, click here.


Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Open Homes April 2015 - Home no. 3 (Greenstone)

Our third home on the list was probably the first zero carbon barn conversion in the UK.

The barn, built in 1860, was converted in 2008 and now generates more energy than it consumes.

As you might expect, this was achieved with a highly efficient building fabric and a range of renewable technologies which not only serve the home but also help to run the electric car.

Super Insulation (25w/m2)
Air tight (2.3m3/m2@50P)
Whole house ventilation with heat recovery
Triple glazed
Underfloor heating
Ground sourced heat pump with bore hole heat collection for space heating and hot water
Biomass pellet stove for backup/occasional room heating
Solar thermal
Solar PV roof and ground mounted
Solar battery storage
Optimersion (using surplus solar electricity to generate hot water)
High use of thermal mass to reduce heating required and control summer overheating
Rain water recycling
Electric car charging

Detailed energy monitoring

For anyone wanting highly technical information about various renewable technologies, home owner David Hill will be able to answer a wide range of questions.

Open on Saturday 25th April at 10am and Sunday 26th April at 2pm.

To book your free visit, click here.

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David is also MD of Carbon Legacy Ltd., a local company which installs renewable technologies, and also one of the sponsors of this event.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Open Homes April 2015 - Home no. 2 (Belmont Villas)

The second house taking part in this year's Open Homes event (25-26th April 2015) is in Beeston.

Belmont Villas house is an Edwardian semi-detached house built in 1901 which underwent extensive renovation work in 2014.

The owners are happy to talk about their successes and also their errors - so if you want the low down on a refurbishment project, this is a really useful one to see.

The upgrade to this solid wall home includes:

Triple glazed sash windows (except double glazed rooflights and attic).
Internal insulation to external walls.
Ground floor: 150 mm floor insulation and underfloor heating.
First floor: rockwool under floor boards and underfloor heating.
Draught proofing
New condensing boiler.
Low energy lighting
Water saving devices include low flow shower, and low flush toilet

This home will be open to visitors on 25th April at 1pm

To book your free visit, click here.

For photographs and more details about this house, go to the Superhomes website (it is Superhome 170). 

Monday, March 02, 2015

Open Homes April 2015 - home no. 1 (Musters Road)

Over the next few weeks, details of all the April 2015 Open Homes will be listed here.

First up, a 1930's detached house in West Bridgford with a conservatory (2001) and loft conversion (2007).

Like many homes of this age in the local area, it is heated with a gas boiler and has solid walls that cannot be insulated with cavity wall insulation.

However, unlike most homes in the same street, in 2014, this home was insulated using external wall insulation, and the conservatory glass roof was replaced with high-tech glazing which is more energy efficient.

Better still, the owners were able to use one of the recent government grant schemes (Green Deal Home Improvement Fund) to help significantly with the cost of the insulation.

Did it work? Was it worth it? Was there much disruption?

The home owners have definitely seen a significant improvement in comfort. And if you'd like to know more, book on to a visit and ask them about it yourself.

Open Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th April at 10am and 2pm

And on Sunday 3rd May at 2pm

To book your free visit, click here.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Open Homes in and around Nottingham, April 2015

Transition West Bridgford's springtime Open Homes event is taking place on the weekend of 25th and 26th April 2015.

We're expecting to have more homes to visit than any time before (eleven so far) so there will be plenty to choose from. Several have only just completed their refurbishments in the last 12 months, and some are still in progress.

All the details will be posted here in the next month. And if you'd like to receive an email when the opening times have been finalised, just email with OPEN HOMES WEEKEND in the header.

This is event is supported by funding from the Green Open Homes network with additional sponsorship from local companies Carbon Legacy Ltd, Westville Ltd and John A Stephens (the local builders merchants). Co-ordination of the event is by local consultancy EcoHouseNet.

If your company would like to sponsor community energy events like this one, please get in touch.

Organised by: and

With funding from:    

And additional sponsorship from....


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Home energy efficiency grants re-starting soon

The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (worth up to £7,600) was launched in June and axed just 6 weeks later due to popular demand.

However, it has been announced today that the grant scheme will re-open before the end of November, with an additional £100million in the pot. So if you missed out last time, it's time to check it out again.

Update: Phase 2 of the grant scheme started in December 2014. Phase 3 is expected in March 2015.

Whether the grant is as generous as previously (for example, offering up to £6,000 and later up to £4,000 towards the cost of External Wall Insulation), remains to be seen.

If you are considering various options to make your home warmer or to cut the energy bills, it is a very good idea to do your research and think it all through carefully. Maybe get some quotes. Then if the grant scheme does start up again, you are poised and ready to see whether it will help  you, and if so, to make the most of it!

There is a handy report about energy saving options from zero cost to high cost on this site, co-written by me and an architect who specialises in low energy buildings including refurbishments. Just go to the "HOBBS Report" on the second tab - it is free to download.

If you live in or near to West Bridgford, then there's local help at hand. With our Transition West Bridgford thermal imaging camera, we can now show you where heat is escaping from your home!

Tina ( / 07962 453037) uses the camera as part of a whole house assessment to highlight energy saving options which might be suitable in your home.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Open Homes, Thermal Images and Cake!

It's been a busy couple of months!

The Open Homes days in May are now over but if you missed out and would like to join the waiting list for next time, just email (Scroll down to find a summary of each home which opened its doors this May.)

Visitors and householders alike enjoyed the days, with some people just visiting out of curiosity and others taking notes and picking up tips for their own homes.

And then, we celebrated the end of the Thermal Imaging Camera pilot project with a bit of a gathering and some cake. The cake was so great we just had to put a couple of pics here. (If you have seen thermal images of any houses from the outside, you'll like this cake!) It also tasted fantastic - not just a pretty cake!

(If you'd like to receive an email when we start up the thermal imaging surveys again in the autumn, email and ask to join the waiting list.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Open Homes May 2014 - open for bookings!

Here are the links to each home on the booking system (with further details on these and other homes across the East Midlands in the blog posts below).

For last minute bookings (on the day, or the evening before), text or call 07962 453037 with the house name, date and time for the visit you wish to book. We will get back to you with the details and confirm whether there is space still available.

Book here for Wollaton Road Refurb in Beeston - in mid refurb! (17 May: 2pm)

Book here for Charnock Avenue Refurb in Nottingham - also in mid-refurb! (18 May: 2pm)

Book here for Elm Avenue in Beeston - the new addition to our booking system (17 & 18 May:  hourly tours from 2.30pm both days)

If you have any questions or any difficulty booking a visit, just email or phone 07962 453037 and we'll get back to you.

All these homes and others can be found on the Green Open Homes website - just put in your postcode to find a low energy home that is local to you.

Homes which have already opened are listed below. If you missed visiting one of these, there may be opportunities for "ad hoc" visits in the next month or so. Just email with your enquiry as we now have a waiting list for several homes.

* Worwood Drive (left hand branch)  on 10th May between 11am & 3pm and make your way to the house with the gazebo and the green balloons in the front garden.

Greenstone - a zero carbon barn conversion in East Leake (10 May: 10am and 2pm)

 Harrow House (towards EnerPHit) - a nearly Passive House refurb (10 & 11 May: 2pm both days)

The Green Man House - an ultra-low energy new build near Market Bosworth (10 May: 10am and 2pm)

* Peveril House - solar power & ground source heat pump (11 May: 12 noon and 4pm)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Open Homes events across the East Midlands

This May (2014) there will be a huge range of low energy and sustainable homes opening across the UK for interested householders to visit for free. It's a great way to suss out ways to make your home more comfortable and reduce your energy bills.

Many of these events are supported with funding from the Centre for Sustainable Energy, and all the homes are listed on the Green Open Homes website.

Within the East Midlands, there will be our own "Transition West Bridgford" event organising open homes visits in Beeston, West Bridgford, East Leake and Market Bosworth (!). Every home is described in a series of posts below, and also here on the Green Open Homes website.

And we are not the only ones!
There's the "Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Open Homes Week" here -  (some of our Transition West Bridgford homes are listed here as well, being in the same geographical area).

Then there's the Nottingham Green Door tour here.

And Loughborough Energy Efficient Homes here.

Or if you are north of Nottingham, then maybe Green Homes Sheffield is closer to hand.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Open Homes May 2014 - This year's theme - seeing heat loss!

This year, we have 7 great open homes and a new display.

Details of the 7 homes are in the preceding posts (below). And they are pretty diverse, including two homes that will be "mid-refurb", some extreme refurbs, 2 new builds and a cavity wall insulated house that has cut its energy bills in half with very moderate energy and cost saving measures.

Our theme this year is "seeing heat loss" - because we have been out and about with a thermal imaging camera. We'll have displays up in each home showing good and bad examples of the places where our homes typically lose heat.

For most of the homes open this year it is necessary to book your place - details are in each post below. This keeps numbers manageable and gives you a better chance to see and hear everything!

We send out directions and other useful information (e.g. bus routes, parking etc) to those who book a place, and if for any reason a tour has to be cancelled or rearranged, we can notify you if we have your contact details.

Read on, book on, and I hope you find this year's Open Homes enjoyable and useful!

Open Homes May 2014 - House number 7 of 7

Last but by no means least on this May's open homes list is a 1980's cavity wall insulated house.

It may not sound a likely candidate for a low energy home, and certainly this is not as low energy as the other 6 homes in previous posts. However, when the current owner bought this house, it had an energy rating of F!! Basic improvements (e.g. loft and cavity insulation, draught-proofing and a new gas boiler) along with common sense habits have cut the bills to around half!

There is no need to book to visit this one - just drop by any time between 11am and 3pm on Saturday 10th May and head for the gazebo in the front garden (the left branch of Worwood Drive in Compton Acres, West Bridgford).

Like the other homes open this year, there will be a thermal imaging display to show good and bad examples of the places where draughts and cold spots are typically found in our homes. The home owner (a qualified building surveyor) will be on hand to talk about DIY solutions.

Open Homes May 2014 - House number 6 of 7

Our 6th Open Home this year is on Charnock Avenue near the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham. Like home number 5 (see previous post), this is an ambitious ultra-low energy refurbishment - and it is mid-refurb!

To book your free place for the 2pm tour on the 18th May 2014, click here.

Here's a summary of progress so far:

An Edwardian bungalow loft conversion and whole-house ultra low energy refurb.  This project is in progress and many interesting features will be still visible.  
Most U values and thermal bridging to exceed Passivhaus minimum.  Passivhaus style detailing.
160 mm PIR external wall insulation taken below ground to footings.
400 mm EPS floor insulation with slab in the middle and edge insulation down to footings internally.
Loft conversion from below the roof structure and tiles left in place.
Consolar Tubo 12 solar thermal and innovative 500 litre thermal store.
Underfloor heating.
Flexible pipe MVHR by Airflow.
Green Building Store 'Ecocontract 48' external windows and doors set in ply box liners.
High levels of air tightness and ambitious target.
Gas boiler with underfloor heating in the screed.

Pit around the house dug, eaves insulated ready for EWI, which is expected to start in April 2014, ground floor underway.

Open Homes May 2014 - House number 5 of 7

Our 5th Open Home this year (on Wollaton Road in Beeston) is "mid refurb", so it really is a great opportunity to see the nuts and bolts of what's being done now while you can still see the insulation and other elements that will eventually be hidden.

To book your free place for the 2pm tour on the 17th May 2014, click here.

An extraordinary self-build project to significantly extend and energy efficiently refurbish a mid Victorian semi-detached villa.  The owner is carrying out most of the work himself including some fairly serious structural challenges and braving all weather.
Single storey rear extension shell complete including green roof, Passivhaus style timber frame and oak cladding.
Large side extension substantially underway including a full size basement built next to the existing house which alone took a year owning to needing to underpin sections, build retaining walls and beam others.  Superstructure of extension 3 storeys above basement in Porotherm clay interlocking lattice blocks 365 mm thick (complete) with 100 mm EWI over (planned).
Green Building Store windows throughout, different ranges.  
TJI engineered floor joists.
PV on the workshop.
Solar thermal planned on large dormer roof.
Wood pellet boiler planned.
Double height conservatory planned.

Roof should be complete and windows installed ready for EWI.

Open Homes May 2014 - House number 4 of 7

On Peveril Drive, West Bridgford, just up the hill from house number 3 (see previous post) is another seriously low energy home - achieved in a very different way.

To book your free place for the 12 noon or 4pm tour on the 11th May 2014, click here.

This house was built with extra cavity wall insulation and has subsequently been fitted with solar hot water panels, solar PV panels, a ground source heat pump linked to 2 "sun-boxes" and more recently still a PVT system.

The owner is a technical expert on this system, using it for cutting edge research into the levels of efficiency that can be achieved with a ground source heat pump.

Open Homes May 2014 - House number 3 of 7

Our third open home (Harrow House / Towards EnerPHit) is an ultra-low energy refurbishment which was designed to meet the EnerPHit (Passive House refurbishment) standard.

To book your free visit to this West Bridgford home, click hereNumbers are limited so that you get the best from the visit, with time to put your questions to the home owner during / after the tour.

Although the air tightness figure of 1.08 ACH narrowly missed the target of 1 ACH required for certification, the performance of the house is definitely in line with the EnerPHit standard.

The house provides comfort and excellent air quality in hot and cold weather. Gas use for the last year was a tiny 4800 kWh (heating plus hot water) and electricity bought in from the grid came to 1500 kWh.

In other words, gas costs around £200 per year (plus a standing charge), and electiricity costs almost exactly the same. Altogether, this means that we earn more for the electricity generated by PV panels on the roof than we pay for gas and electricity.

The secret is the Passive House methodology - insulation, air tightness and a whole house ventilation system with heat recovery. The thermal mass prevents overheating in summer and keeps indoor temperatures steady all year round.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Open Homes May 2014 - House number 2 of 7

A little closer to home, in East Leake, is our second open home, Greenstone.

It's a zero carbon barn conversion with a long list of features. And since this home last opened to the public, there have been a few additions to maximise use of the elecctricity generated. If you have not been before, it is well worth a visit!

To book your free place for the 10am or 2pm tour on the 10th May 2014, click here.

·         Super insulated 9” solid brick walls (oldest barn built in 1860)
·         Factory made Insulated roof panels (SIPS)
·         Super insulated floor slab with wet under floor heating (ground and first floor)
·         Extensive use of thermal mass in floors, internal walls and ceiling
·         Itho Whole house ventilation with heat recovery 90% efficiency
·         Triple glazed timber windows with aluminium outer skin (Rationel)
·         Draft lobby with highly insulated doors (Rationel)
·         Air tight construction with measured value of 2.3m3/m2@50Pa pressure
·         Thermal store feed by oversized Solar Hot water panels and heat pump for space heating and domestic hot water
·         10kw roof mounted Solar PV system
·         20kw ground mounted Solar PV system
·         Powerrouter 5kw battery storage system providing solar produced electricity at night and back up electricity in the event of a power cut
·         Two intelligent immersion switches using spare solar generated electricity to heat hot water in 400 and 300L thermal stores
·         Ground sourced heat Pump (GHP) providing space heating and some of the domestic hot water
·         Electric car powered from the solar PV panels
·         Experimental Solar PVT panels providing Earth charging energy from solar panels to improve the efficiency of the GSHP
·         Recently installed Web based energy monitoring equipment measuring electrical use, solar power generated, appliance consumption, heat generation
·         Rain water recycling from underground tank to provide water for toilet flushing and garden irrigation
·         Presence and daylight sensor light control in common areas of the house
·         100% low energy lighting and low energy appliances
·         Reserve wood pellet 5kw stove in case of power failure

Interesting facts/results:
·         It works!
·         It has met its target energy consumption with 3 years’ worth of all power consumption (electricity) 10,500kwh/year
·         The house is now a net exporter of  Solar generated electricity providing a very useful additional income stream
·         It  also provides free electricity to charge 2 or more electric cars the first of which is doing really well (Volt)

·         The family loves it because it is comfortable and pleasant to live in all year round