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

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

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Open Homes May 2014 - House number 1 of 7

Of the homes we're opening to the public in May 2014, this is the first to be featured here in the run up to the open days.

The Green Man House is a new build to almost Passive House standard, and it's near Market Bosworth! It may seem a little way outside Nottingham, but it's a great house so it would be a shame to miss it out.

Owner Peter said

"Of the number of approaches to building a ‘green house,’ we decided to emulate the Passivhaus standard. We decided on a timber frame construction built off site, with good insulation, air tightness, solar water heating, and a ventilation system with heat recovery. The house was orientated and designed to take advantage of the warmth of the sun within a fairly tight site.

The house has performed well since it was completed five years ago, although it just failed the Passivhaus air tightness standard. A log burning stove is used on colder winter evenings to bring temperatures up to a comfortable level and to boost the hot water supply."

If you would like to visit this house, click here to book your place. Numbers are limited so that you get the best from the visit, with a chance to put your questions to the home owner.