The SuperHomes Network was set up to educate and offer anybody who is contemplating improving the energy efficiency of their home the opportunity meet the people who have already done it. Those people have learned a great deal through practical experience and have a great deal of information to pass on. Many houses registered on the SuperHomes website have agreed to open their homes to anyone interested in taking advantage of the chance to tap into their experience. This usually happens during the month of September.
We have two members of Transition Chester who have registered SuperHomes which are available to view on open days. Simon Brown’s home in Hoole is a semi-detached, between the wars house retro-fitted with a range of carbon saving and energy saving measures. Simon offers viewing to interested parties during September by appointment.
The second registered home is a Victorian terrace in the Garden Quarter of Chester. Like Simon’s, it has been retro-fitted with a range of energy saving measures. It is owned by Arnold who is keen to share his experience with anyone seriously interested in saving energy in their home.
Arnold has this to say about his SuperHome.
My house is super energy efficient, not show home. I completed most of the improvements myself as a DIY project over a period of 6 years as funds became available. Now my gas and electricity bills are extremely low. In winter I only have the gas boiler on for half an hour each day to heat the water. I only use the central heating very occasionally to heat the house as my multi-fuel stove keeps the whole house warm. The temperature in the bathroom remains a constant 20 degrees. When builders come to my house they complain it is too hot.
If you would like to view either of these homes,please leave a message on the contact form.
You can find out more about the SuperHomes Network by visiting their website at www.superhomes.org.uk
If you would like to know more about Arnold’s Superhome, read on………….
My well paid job at Octel in Ellesmere port ended when my back failed L4/5 disc at the age of 42.
We sold our semi near the Woodlands Hotel and moved back to Chester in the hope that I could find some part time work because that was all I could cope with. We moved into our terraced house in August 1994.
When the winter came I found out how cold it was without the heating ON.
Fortunately, I had a pension from Octel which meant we had enough money to keep up with the household bills but food was really tight.
I got a job delivering Bread and Cakes, then worked at Northgate Arena in the car park. What little money we had to spare and what I could get off my Mum was used to start work on the house reducing heat loss.
To seal the gaps in our front room floor I put mastic between floor, skirting board and wall to stop cold air coming in.
I also fitted a double glazed unit into the old back Door which is still in use in our hall, keeping cold air next to front door – ‘an air lock’ to use Royal Navy Jargon.
All our windows were Single Glazed. We decided to start fitting double glazing in the kitchen by removing the single pieces of glass and replacing with “Stepped double glazed panels”. They were made by Abbey Glass. I asked them a few years ago if they could still make them – the reply was yes.
At some point I had bought 9 large rolls of Sheeps wool Insulation.
Because I had the insulation I hired some scaffolding and had it erected outside our bay window and I climbed up and removed the Slates to reveal a very thin layer of fiberglass insulation. I then filled up the entire space with a minimum 450mm (18 inches) of sheeps wool.
The Sheeps wool was intended to be used for insulating Under the Wooden floor but when I got underneath I discovered I would have to lift the boards as a previous builder had dumped a load of rubble down there…….
Over the years we have made steady improvements to the house until 4 yrs ago the house was certified as a Superhome which means Energy improvements of 62% since we have lived here. I have internally insulated the house myself and saved myself lots of money. If we had not done this work I would now be suffering Fuel Poverty.
We are paying £50 for electricity and £10 for Gas each month.
We have a multi-fuel fire in the front room which is the only heating we now use. It is used in the evenings.
The boiler is used to heat water in the cylinder so my wife can have the correct temp for her mornings wash. We have a solar thermal panel on our roof which heats the water in summer.