A Tale of Three Retrofits
This autumn social saw members get together for an informative and enjoyable evening at Leaf on Portland St.
We heard from three very different households who have recently completed (or almost completed!) their retrofits, and were inspired by each in their varied considerations and approaches.
(If you'd like to listen to an audio recording of the event please visit Carbon Co-op Social - Oct 2017)
Julian spoke first about his retrofit of a Victorian semi in Chorlton. In particular Julian was keen to preserve original features such as the sash windows, external brick work and the fireplace. While this was not possible in all cases it was very interesting to see the inventive decisions made to take care of aesthetic considerations. Julian took the approach of mixing external wall (EWI) with internal wall insulation (IWI). It was interesting to hear of the issues in managing airtightness issues particularly at the junctions of walls ceilings and the second storey.
John and Pauline Grayson have undertaken an ambitious project of a near total renovation of a 1930s semi in Bury. It was fascinating to hear of the very thorough considerations they have taken into account in planning their retrofit including: making the home work for their old age, taking account of future climate impacts on the home (dealing with high winds, flooding, increased rainfall and blackouts), making a home suitable for multi-generational families, the environmental impact of building materials used, as well as energy efficiency.
Alan and Monica's experience differed in that they decided not to go for EWI/IWI or mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MVHR) and did not use specialist contractors (not for wont of trying!). Their decision making in this was based around examining how they would use their home and the differing needs they had as a couple. Their experience with a mainstream contractor differed from John and Pauline's experience (who used the specialist contractor NestHaus). Whilst being highly skilled, Alan and Monica struggled with the contractors approach to key environmental/energy efficiency factors.
A varied and interesting discussion followed which touched on the topics of: overcoming difficulties faced by the younger generation of first time house buyers, ethics of large homes for couples, importance of retrofit due to climate change, the problem of landlords and rental properties, the choice of MVHR, local situational factors (aspect, shelter, weather) relevant to choosing a home, different experiences with contractors.
One commented that these stories were fascinating but that undertaking works on the whole house at once was intimidating. We decided that it would be interesting to hear from those that have taken a step by step approach (like Lorenza and Paul, and Andy). In response we will organise our next social around this theme of taking a phased approach. If you would be interested in contributing to this please get in touch with Aneaka, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you'd like to listen to an audio recording of the event please visit Carbon Co-op Social - Oct 2017
Julian is towards the end of a retrofit of a Victorian semi tackling internal wall insulation, room in the roof and underfloor insulation, new triple glazed windows, and new heating and ventilation. See more here: http://www.juliantomlin.com/victorian-semi.html
John and Pauline have retrofitted their 1930's semi to EnerPHit standards, with very high levels of airtightness, EWI, triple glazing and MVHR. A driving concern has been the creation of a demonstration project to tackle climate change in old houses, and to convert the house to make it suitable for their retirement. They will continue to record energy usages, temperature and humidity and will make the data available to interested parties.
Alan and Monica have just completed a full refurbishment of their house which has included a number of measures to reduce energy consumption, make the house more thermally efficient and reduce their carbon footprint. They have employed experienced contractors, but not ones that are specialists in those particular areas. After a lot of consideration Alan and Monica decided not to go for EWI or MVHR and this was based on positive decisions around their home use patterns and desires, rather than due to finance.