Green Building Store is now 21°

Warmer Homes

21° and Green Building Company have just launched some new resources to help householders undertake low energy retrofits for hard-to-treat homes. The resources have been developed as part of the  MASTT (Marsden & Slaithwaite Transition Towns) Warmer Homes project  in partnership with Connect Housing, and have been funded by DECC. The project has used the low energy Passivhaus methodology to explore low energy approaches to two home types – a Victorian mid-terrace and 1940s semi-detached home –  in the Colne Valley, West Yorkshire. The project has involved developing three budget levels of strategies for each of the homes, and looking at the level of improvements that are possible (with 90% projected savings in heating costs in one case).

In addition, the resources look at:

  • The importance of a ‘fabric first’ approach before installing bolt-on micro-renewables.
  • The need for the key principles of insulation, airtightness, continuity of insulation and ventilation to work together to achieve effective low energy refurbishments.
  • Guidance on developing a ‘whole house plan’ when undertaking any home energy improvements, so that incremental improvements (eg improving the energy efficiency of a single room) are put in the context of the future plan for the whole house.
  •  Advice on ventilation strategies when improving the airtightness of homes – ranging from extractor fans and trickle vents to MVHR (mechanical ventilation with heat recovery) systems – depending on the level of airtightness.
  • Low-cost suggestions for improving heating and lighting efficiencies.
  •  Sources of funding including retrofit mortgages and the Green Deal.

We have a huge challenge in the UK to start refurbishing our homes for energy efficiency, and I hope the Government’s Green Deal, when introduced later this year, will increase interest in this. Our Warmer Homes resources will help householders make well-informed decisions for improving their homes, based on best-practice building principles.

Life changing homes