Jane and David Straker’s aim was to have a well-insulated energy efficient house with downstairs loo and shower, economical to heat, comfortable, easy to maintain and generally suitable for their needs as they grow older.
The plan was to upgrade their house to high environmental standards, drawing on the skills of a local architectural practice, Simmonds.Mills, well versed in this field and their son Tom Straker, as project manager, who is a builder and member of the AECB (The Association for Environment Conscious Building). The project was to be funded by downsizing from their previous property.
The structure of the house was not ideal: narrow, single brick walls and a converted loft with ladder access – theoretically a third bedroom. The house was built in 1863, one of a pair and in fact detached by a couple of inches on one side. It has right of access through a side passage, which was important to them, but means that contrary to appearances it does not have all the insulation advantages of a terraced house. It faces almost due south. EPC rating was E.
Jane Straker said, “We have a really homely house which satisfies our wish to live comfortably while reducing our carbon footprint. The embodied energy in reconstruction should be recovered within at most four years. The life of an originally not-very-well-built house will have been extended by many years and will go on saving energy into the future.”
By projecting their energy consumption from moving in on 15/12/2014 they predict the energy use and cost (from Green Energy UK) over the first year will be:-
Gas – 5400 kWh = £290
Electricity – 1915 kWh net = £340
(Note: the cost of fuels includes standing charges)
Since 19/12/2014 their 2.08kW PV panels have exported 1427 kWh to the Grid, valued at just under £300.
Andy Simmonds, AECB CEO added, “David and Jane are part of a growing number of ‘retrofitters’ getting their ‘house in order’ and helping to prepare the ground for improved retrofit practice: moisture robust, healthy, low energy with high comfort .”