Last week was Open House weekend as the 40,000 or so people that went to Battersea Power Station should know. Having had a quick peek at it recently as part of the improvement zone project I was able to visit a couple of eco homes instead. Having seen quite a number of architect led fantasy eco homes as part of other tours I was eager instead to see some normal houses that had been upgraded at a reasonable cost and with great savings.
The first visit was to The Coach House in Belsize Park a lovely house on the end of a Georgian terrace. Waiting outside we particularly admired the tradesman’s entrance with the big Tradesmen sign above it.
We were welcomed in by the owners along with a couple of other early risers. We began with an introduction to the house and the owners ambitions for the refit. They wanted to achieve somewhere near the 80% reduction in carbon emissions and energy usage that the government has committed to for 2050. They have achieved something near this through insulating the walls and the roof, replacing and refurbishing windows and using low energy bulbs and heating controls.
The walls were particularly impressive, the internal wall insulation added at the front of the house is almost impossible to spot:
And the only way to tell that the outside has been done is to tap the wall and listen to the slightly hollow sound created by the foam underneath:
The roof was mostly flat and had been insulated externally with decking placed on top of that so you can walk on it:
Inside there is a an Owl electricity meter and Passivsystems heat control. I was pleased to learn afterwards that they had used a Parity Home Energy Masterplan to plan out the refurbishment of their house.
You can read lots more about the house and see videos on the Superhomes website. Well worth a look, particularly to see how unobtrusive wall insulation is. A lot of people I speak to seem to think it will make there rooms tiny but this is definitely not the case, and you get great windowsills for plants etc.
This was further illustrated by the next house we visited in a mansion block near King’s Cross. This was also a super home and a cosy flat
on the top floor. The flat had also had internal insulation on the walls and this time the ceiling as well. Again the insulation couldn’t be seen and the owners had also added coving to the ceiling and the same time improving the look of the flat.