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Eco-Retrofit at an East Oxford terrace

We recently completed an environmental retrofit for Lis and Sarah in a beautiful terrace home in East Oxford. Motivated by the need to reduce carbon emissions, they wanted to make their home environmentally friendly and were delighted to find their home much warmer and cosier too.

In this post, we’ll tell you more about Lis and Sarah’s experience and the measures they got installed in their home, but you can also download the full case study as a PDF or watch a video of their home transformation below.

About the home

Lis and Sarah’s home is a terrace in East Oxford built in the late 1800s with solid brick walls. The home was heated by a gas boiler and had a small wood stove in the downstairs living area as a means for providing warmth.

The house had little to no insulation and had trouble keeping a steady constant temperature, making it cold to live and work in.

Motivations

The couple admit that the house was in need of attention and refurbishment, but required a whole house retrofit to consider the home’s environmental impact, repairing and improving features while maintaining the home’s tasteful design and character.

Reducing carbon emissions

Lis and Sarah were very conscious of the environment and that was their main drive for the retrofit. At the same time, they have ended up with a warmer more comfortable house that will cost less to run.

Making their home more energy efficient combined with low carbon heating means they will reduce carbon emissions from their home for years to come.

Project management

The couple were keen to have Cosy Homes Oxfordshire manage the project to reduce the stress and remove potential barriers from arranging and accessing contractors themselves. Having a Retrofit Coordinator helped managed multiple energy efficiency measures to be implemented to the home at once. Any potential issues could be resolved by our team leading a discussion with contractors, taking the pressure off Lis and Sarah while they stayed elsewhere.

“I’m not sure we could have done this without them.”

– Lis was delighted with the service she had received from Cosy Homes Oxfordshire and says the project was finally realised with the help of our team.
Gaining expert guidance

They wanted to have expert input and guidance from their Retrofit Coordinator to consider several different measures and how they would combine and interact to fully reduce their home’s carbon impact for the future. As part of the Cosy Homes service, the measures in the house received a quality assessment to make sure they performed as promised.

“The fact that Cosy Homes sourced all the contractors made the whole project possible from our point of view.”

Lis, Cosy Homes Oxfordshire Client

They wanted someone to guide them through the whole process. Cosy Homes Oxfordshire drafted a Whole House Plan to create a prioritisation of measures and project plan for making the home as energy efficient as possible.

“The concept may seem strange to us, but actually, in all our homes we have fridges, and an air source heat pump is very much like a fridge working back to front.” – Geordie Stewart, Cosy Homes Oxfordshire Scheme Manager

What measures were installed?

The couple were lucky that they could move out of the house during the retrofit to allow work to develop at a faster rate as soon as the house had been cleared.

Staying in a house during a retrofit is possible, but contractors will need to work around you to minimise disruption.

The retrofit measures included:

  • 2kWp Solar PV array
  • Traditional timber sash windows with double glazing
  • Air source heat pump
  • Internal wall wood fibre insulation (IWI)
  • Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI)
  • Loft insulation on the main roof with a controlled ventilation system
  • Flat roof insulation on the backroom extension
  • Underfloor heating and insulated floors

The house is beautifully finished – but doesn’t look any different than a non-insulated house.

On the ground floor, the house is fully equipped with underfloor heating, extending across the living room, kitchen and bathroom.

An air source heat pump powers the heating and upstairs radiators with thermostatic dials for added control and comfort.

“Working from home and being here most of the day, I’d got used to it being really cold, but now it’s just a constant pleasant temperature.”

Lis, Cosy Homes Oxfordshire Client

Lis and Sarah were presented with a difficult decision to get rid of their wood burner but decided to proceed and install underfloor heating to improve the environmental credentials of the home. The house can now be kept at a steady temperature by an air source heat pump and underfloor heating, making it cosier than ever while reducing the home’s carbon emissions and air pollutants from the stove.

A solar PV array on the roof was installed on the south-facing aspect to create added energy that is sent to the heat pump’s thermal store.

The retrofit team also relocated the old fuse box to work with the new Solar PV panels on the roof of the home, while making it compatible for use in future with electric vehicle (EV) charging.

In the loft, insulation was installed in between the joists with aluminium spreader plates. Across the house as a whole, there’s a continuous layer of insulation to prevent thermal bridging.

Rock wool insulation was used between the floor joists to help keep heat in the room being heated.

The walls were given a base coat of lime, and then applied 8cm of wood fibre insulation.

The home was fitted with specially made traditional timber sash windows with enhanced glazing. As the frames are made from wood they will be easily repairable in the future while maintaining beautiful the history, style and character of the home.

When a Whole House Plan was created for the home their energy and carbon savings were estimated – if they carried out the actions set out.

The retrofit can be seen to save a significant amount of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere through reduced energy use.

Savings are based on energy bill rates prevalent on the market at the time the Whole House Plan report was published.

If you’re interested in retrofitting your home and you live in Oxfordshire, you can get in touch with our expert team to consider your options.

Our Free Plan Builder can help Oxfordshire residents build an energy efficiency plan for their homes.

Simply put in your postcode and you’ll see everything we know about the current energy efficiency and performance of your home, based on existing data. Then, choose your budget and priorities and the Plan Builder will create a draft retrofit plan for your home – which you can edit to suit your needs.

“I think if anybody was thinking about going to Cosy Homes Oxfordshire and talking to them about doing the Whole House Plan and Project Management, I would absolutely say go for it. I’m not sure we could have done this without them.”

Lis, East Oxford

Read more retrofit stories


Get your free draft retrofit plan

Curious about what home retrofit could do for your home’s energy bills and carbon emissions? Get started by using our Plan Builder to create a draft home retrofit plan, and then submit your plan to our team to start the Cosy Homes process.

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