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Low Energy Renovation, Open Eco Home


Central Cambridge




AC Architects were appointed to put in place a strategy for improving the thermal performance of this mid-terrace city centre family home.

The overall aim of the project was to make the house more comfortable to live in and to reduce the family’s carbon footprint. This was achieved through a comprehensive renovation of the whole property including complete insulation of the external walls, roof and ground floor. External insulation was fitted to the exposed front and rear elevations where there was room for this. Thinner high performance Aerogel insulation was used where existing internal space was limited to achieve excellent u-values without significantly reducing the size of the landing. The existing roof ridge was raised in order to accommodate insulation over; there was the ability to do this without detrimental impact upon the streetscape as the houses either side already had higher ridges.

The old conservatory- style roof over the existing single-storey extension was reconstructed to include insulation. New windows, rooflights and doors were incorporated throughout, with triple glazing to maximize the daylight within the rooms whilst not detrimentally impacting on their thermal performance.

Services were upgraded throughout with a new A-rated boiler and low energy lighting. Solar PV panels, located both sides of the main roof slope, facing east and west, meet electricity demand first and then use a solar iBoost system to use excess energy to heat the immersion heater for hot water. Any excess energy is then transferred back to the grid for feed-in tariff payments. Water butts collect the rainwater from the house for the garden.

The clients took an active role in the research of appropriate methods of renovation for the property and have committed to a low energy lifestyle, including cycling where possible which the house helps to achieve with a new bike shelter and canopy to the front. Existing materials were recycled and reused in the house including the old floorboards which were refitted throughout.

Whilst no footprint was added to the building, the combination of thermal upgrading and better quality ventilation and daylight into the property has resulted in the useable space of the building increasing and the family now occupy the whole house all year round.

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