D) 55 Fairfield Road

This is a terraced house built in 1905, of particular interest to owners wanting to retrofit houses containing less recent fittings.


Windows


We have replaced some of our sashes with new double-glazed ones. These are almost replicas of the original, with thin krypton-filled cavities and draught excluding trimmings, and a glass u-value of 1.6. It was not necessary to replace the boxes. The suppliers were the Sash Window Consultancy (www.sashwindowconsultancy.co.uk) We have also applied very cheap and effective secondary plastic film window glazing in two places; a little difficult with sash windows, but surprisingly robust with a casement window.

Insulation

We wanted to keep our polished floorboards, but found our feet were cold in the winter, so we put insulation under the floorboards; it is supported by battens nailed to the joists – no need now for slippers. We have also had our cavity walls filled with rockwool. Even though our house was built in 1906 it had cavities, and the wall ties were zinc, so they will not go rusty (unlike steel ones). Injection holes can be seen on the outside but are not too obtrusive. The roof is insulated with high-density panels which meant the snow this winter took a long time to thaw.

Heating

We have a condensing boiler and thermostatic radiator valves. We have not installed thermal water heating panels, but will try to exploit the south-facing roof soon (probably for photovoltaic cells). We have applied DIY draught stripping to doors, and this has been very effective.

Lighting

We have replaced nearly all our tungsten incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), and spent some time trying to find appropriate suitably deep lightshades. We have also replaced our GU10 50W halogen kitchen spotlights bulbs with 3W Homebase and 7W City Electrical LED bulbs. Instead of 500W we now use 46W and it’s just as good. It has drastically reduced our electricity bills by about £10 per week.

Other Inside Gadgets

We use remote eco-switches for easy switching off of standby, although appliances vary in how they behave when you switch them back on (some remember settings, some don’t); The cats happily use a double cat flap built through the wall. We have a meter that measures how much energy is passing through a single socket.

Outside

Three water butts are fed from rainwater downpipes; we compost waste food and garden matter, and we use folding bikes and have a bike trailer

Phil