Richard Dawson, chartered architect based in Bingley, West Yorkshire, providing architectural services and project management.

An energy efficient home in Bingley

Location: Bingley, West Yorkshire

The solar tank which holds the hot water which is either heated by the solar panels, wood burning stove or the gas boiler

The solar tank which was installed helping to make the house more energy efficient

Brief: The clients wanted to achieve much higher energy efficiency and address the issue of possible condensation at their detached house was built in 1980.  It had 50mm insulation at ceiling level, a 28year old heating system without pipe insulation, old windows and doors and high volume water use sanitary fittings.  The clients also wanted an extra bedroom with an en suite and a utility room, created by using the rear storerooms.

Solution: An energy audit was carried out indicating 56 ‘D’(55-68) SAP Rating or not very energy efficient.  The decision was taken to replace the entire heating system with an integrated heating system using roof mounted solar tubes, an energy efficient gas boiler and a log burning stove with back boiler all linked to a thermal store for hot water generation.  The space heating system has radiators from a vented indirect system with controls linked through the thermal store.  All the windows and doors were replaced with energy efficient glazed units exceeding current standards.

External view of the energy efficient home

External view of the energy efficient home

Cavity wall insulation was installed and, with the assistance of a government grant, 300mm of insulation was also fitted in the loft.  In addition, to reduce the heat loss from the building, the external walls were lined internally with insulated plasterboard where space permitted.

As it was then going to be much more ‘air tight’, a Mechanical ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR) system from (a local Skipton company), was installed to improve indoor air quality and filter out pollen and other external pollutants.

300mm of insulation inserted into the roof of the attic

300mm of insulation inserted into the roof of the attic

An additional benefit of reducing relative humidity is that it limits dust mite numbers  and therefore the airborne allergens they produce. The system is able to capture over 90% of the energy from the outgoing stale air before delivering it as warm, filtered, preconditioned air into the living areas of the house.  It works by a series of ducts that collect stale moist air from inside the property, from areas such as the kitchen, laundry and bathroom.  Without the MVHR system, it would have been difficult to provide adequate ventilation to some rooms as they are below ground level as a result of the house being cut into the hillside.

The new energy efficient refurbished house saves them around £1500 a year on bills. The upgraded predicted recalculated as 70 or a ‘C’ SAP Rating.