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Victorian end of terrace:

Loft & floor insulation, PV panels, DIY draught-proofing and decarbonisation scheme

 

Download Printable Case Study (PDF)

Overview

Age/Period: Late 19th/Early 20th
Type: 2-storey, end of terrace
Years in residence: 6
No. Bedrooms: 2
Wall type: Solid wall – Bath stone ashlar
Area: Bear Flat, BA2

Key Features

Under Floor Insulation
Loft Insulation
Double glazing

Energy-efficient appliances and lighting

Roof-mounted solar PVs

Draught-proofing

Introduction

Key themes informing Funda’s approach to retrofit are: ‘In the context of the climate and nature emergency, retrofitting for energy efficiency is the adaptation of buildings to consume less energy for heating and cooling. In my opinion, it should also embrace within its definition adaptation to the already rising temperatures and extreme weather events that will result from global warming.

‘A combination of low incomes, high fuel prices and poor energy efficiency put our household at real risk of fuel poverty, which we wanted to avoid. ‘You don’t have to do it perfectly, but it needs to be right for the building.’

Funda and her family’s retrofit journey has three phases:

i) Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme involving retrofit floor, loft insulation and PV panels.
ii) Low cost DIY retrofit measures, i.e. draught proofing and behavioural changes.
iii) Victorian House of the Future: a proposal for remodelling in line with the Climate and Ecological Emergency Declaration goal for Bath & North East Somerset Council to become carbon neutral by 2030.
Phase i) EPC rating going from F to D.
Phase ii) Starts to address comfort shortfalls of a draughty period house.
Phase iii) Seeks to address decarbonisation.

Features

Insulation: Loft & under-floor

Original floorboards were lifted across the ground floor and insulation was installed in between floor joists. Floor insulation installation required remedial works as substantial gaps were left around the perimeter of floor. Unsympathetic new timber was used to patch up floor. Funda believes the workmanship issues, while ultimately addressed, were attributable to a lack of works being overseen on site. Contractors for the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme were not local to Bath, needing to commute for over two hours to get to the house each day. Furthermore, living in the property while the work was undertaken was disruptive: ‘Floor insulation is just one example. In my home, it meant boxing up and moving everything out of the living and dining rooms, which double up as work spaces for my partner and I, and the disruption to our lives was extreme.’

Loft insulation between and over the ceiling joists had to be done twice as it was installed incorrectly at first. Not only have energy savings been achieved, but also a greater level of comfort.

Key lesson: Would have pushed for proper supervision of works.

Double glazing

Draughty timber single-glazed sash windows were removed and replaced with uPVC double-glazed sashes at a cost of approx. £5,000. While not Funda’s first choice, uPVC sashes were considerably cheaper than timber versions (which were quoted at £15,000).

Draught Proofing

Some of Funda’s Quick Wins
‘Here is what I did as quick wins, all of them either cheap or free:

  • Identify and cover all draughts, often found around windows, doors, letterboxes, fireplaces, floorboards and any gaps or cracks in walls. Use filler for cracks and repair gaps. Use temporary measures for everything else so they can be removed when draughts are needed for natural cooling in the summer.
  • Collect the centres of toilet rolls and other thin cardboard to cut and fold to place in between floor boards to prevent draughts. Strips of felt also worked, as did offcuts of wood in wider gaps. Cover leftover and very thin gaps with silicone sealant.
  • Place draught excluders at the bottom of doors, especially the front door. These can be homemade by cutting the ends off old tights or trouser legs and filling with other old clothes before tying the ends up. Remove in the summer to allow natural draughts under the doors for cooling.
  • Use thick fabric, like felt or denim, to cover the letterbox by attaching it at the top.
  • Hang curtains over windows and doors. Blankets or fabric slung over a piece of dowel/wooden pole fixed on hooks on either side works well if there is no curtain rail, or no space to fit one. Use an old bed sheet if you want to block draughts without obstructing natural daylight coming through glazing.
  • Use a roll of thick belt fabric from a haberdashers or used belts to stick or nail to the edge of doors to prevent draughts in between double doors or between a door and architrave.
Appliances & lighting

The household uses low-energy lighting throughout.

PV Panels

Six solar PV panels were introduced to the west and south sides of the hipped roof as part of the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme, with a feed in tariff of 15p per kWh via Octopus Energy. PV installation drives behavioural change, e.g. using the washing machine in the daytime to use PV energy.

Future Plans

Victorian House of the Future (Planning reference: 22/04394/FUL)

Proposal: Whole house decarbonisation retrofit, including introduction of passive solar gain in downstairs living spaces through a ground-floor extension, additional daylighting and passive ventilation through additional windows to front and side elevations; creation of dedicated space for work, family and storage included in erection of a hip to gable roof conversion; internal alterations; external Hemp-lime insulating render; and associated works. Internal wall insulation is being considered for north wall as it did not secure planning permission due to the Conservation Area status.

Funda would consider installing a heat pump subject to installing additional insulation.

Other actions undertaken alongside retrofit: Funda has created a website documenting experience and trained as a Retrofit Coordinator.

www.victorianhouseofthefuture.uk

@victorianhouseofthefuture