The UK has the oldest existing housing stock in Europe. Government targets to reduce carbon emissions produced by this stock by 80% by 2050 gave Huntingdonshire District Council the incentive to reduce the district’s carbon footprint and improve the energy and water efficiency of its 67,000 private homes. Working with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) on the Green House Project, part of the BRE’s “Rethinking Refurbishment” initiative, Huntingdonshire District Council identified two properties in St Ives and St Neots which could benefit from the campaign. Both houses are typically representative of homes across the district in both their age and construction.
The Green House Project demonstrates how typical family homes can be refurbished affordably and easily, reduce carbon emissions, be more efficient to run and reduce energy bills. The project takes a ‘whole house’ approach to refurbishment, starting with the building fabric and insulation, windows, heating systems, ventilation, water efficiency measures and the installation of renewable
energy technology including solar thermal for hot water and solar photovoltaics (PV) for energy.
The St Neots property, a 1970s three bedroom semidetached house, demonstrates improvements that can be made to existing properties for a relatively modest financial outlay, with no major structural improvements, whilst still achieving a reasonable energy performance rating.
The St Ives property, a 1960s two bedroom detached house, has undergone sustainable refurbishment, along with a replacement single storey extension at the back and a two storey extension on the side, creating extra living space, an additional bedroom and an integral garage. This represents what can be achieved with more finance and includes a wider range of micro-generation renewable technology.