3: The Nook, Lovers Walk, Brighton

Property type: Detached solid wall Victorian 6 bedroom villa built in 1895

Project: Earthwise Construction won ‘Retrofit for the future’, a government funded competition, to fully eco renovate the house with an aim of reducing the houses carbon emissions by 80%.

Overview: The project involved fitting high levels of insulation to all the thermal elements of the building including; external and internal wall insulation, floors and roof. Double glazing was used on the front (due to conversation area), triple glazing on sides and rear, a mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery (MVHR), a highly efficient condensing gas boiler with heating controls and a solar thermal system for hot water were installed. The project has been monitored for 2 years to see how the energy efficiency measures have performed. The house was opened by Caroline Lucas MP on 5th September 2011 and has been featured in Eco Open Houses. The project was also short listed in the AJ Retrofit Awards in 2012 and is featured in 20 Retrofit Case Studies by Marion Baeli and the Retrofit 360 report.

Challenges: The big challenge was to try and achieve an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions on a drafty large detached Victorian house with almost no insulation and single glazed windows in a conservation area with an article 4 direction in place. The house had solid concrete floors, so insulation had to be installed over this with all the internal door ways on the ground floor having to be raised, and the kitchen being removed and re-fitted.

Materials used: Phenolic insulation was used throughout, this was selected over natural materials for its high thermal performance that would ensure the projects achieved the target of an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions. FSC triple glazed timber windows with aluminium cladding were fitted on the sides and rear. A large solar thermal array was also fitted to provide hot water, with a new a highly efficient A-rated boiler fitted as a back up.