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“We’ve wrapped our whole house in insulation”

Eleanor and Chris, in East Oxford

Eleanor and Chris wrapped their 1930s house in insulation to make it warmer, greener, and cheaper to run.

About the home

Eleanor and Chris live in a 1930s three-bedroom end-of-terrace house in East Oxford. Their home has cavity walls and shares common characteristics with other houses in the area from the interwar period, including bay windows, and was heated by a gas boiler.

1930s three-bed end-of-terrace in East Oxford.

They used to keep their home at around 19°C when the heating was on in the winter. When they were working from home, they wore pullovers and used hot water bottles to help keep warm.

They decided to focus their retrofit on the main living area – a combined kitchen, dining room, and living room where triple glazing has now been installed. The Cosy Homes Oxfordshire team tailored their advice to help improve the energy efficiency of the home in a way that would work for them.

“Sixteen years ago we weren’t really aware of saving energy at all, and we had our thermostat up at 21°C, or something like that. But we’ve reduced the temperature setting, partly because of climate change, partly because of rising fuel bills.”

Eleanor, Cosy Homes Oxfordshire client

What were their motivations?

Eleanor and Chris both became concerned about the impact of climate change and felt a responsibility to reduce the carbon emissions of their home.

The couple had both recently retired and wanted to get started on the project now they had extra time and funds. With fuel bills on the rise, they invested in their property to make it cheaper to run in the future.

“We’re both very worried about climate change, but also because of hugely rising energy bills.”

They also decided to retrofit their home as an example of what can be done, and hopefully inspire others in the local community too.

While upgrading the insulation and draught proofing, they both understood they would need to improve ventilation and create good airflow to avoid any potential dampness issues.

Eight years ago, before starting on their retrofit journey, they got a thermal image of their house taken. It pointed out a massive heat leak from the bay windows. Interestingly, about 200 other houses in the estate share these windows, and thermal images of them suggest that the heat is escaping mainly from the connection between the bay window and the wall.

Additionally, the front door featuring single-glazed glass panels was losing heat too. On the flip side, houses with an extra external front door demonstrated better heat retention.

Bay windows on the estate were shown to be a source of leaking heat.

They had installed 10cm of loft insulation and cavity wall insulation 12 years prior, funded by a government grant. However, they later found out the work wasn’t done properly, and some of the cavity wall insulation had sagged.

While certain areas of the home had double glazing, it was showing signs of wear. Condensation was forming on the inside of windows, and some window frames were starting to buckle.

They already had solar PV panels installed on the roof.

What measures were installed?

The retrofit measures included:

  • External wall insulation
  • Loft insulation and boarding, and insulated loft hatch
  • High-performance triple-glazed doors and windows
  • Demand controlled ventilation

They commissioned the Whole House Plan, which suggested installing an Air Source Heat Pump. The couple planned to proceed with this once their home met a high standard of insulation.

External wall insulation was wrapped around the house to keep the heat in.
Project coordination

Cosy Homes Oxfordshire drafted a Whole House Plan to sort out the most important energy-efficient improvements for the home and create a project plan. The goal was to boost the home’s energy efficiency as much as possible.

An example of a Whole House Plan with estimated savings for Fuel Bills and Carbon emissions.

Taking on a retrofit project can be very technical, and the couple recognised the value of the expertise Cosy Homes could provide.

“If we’re going to spend money on a big measure such as loft insulation, we want to make sure it’s properly done.

Chris, Cosy Homes Oxfordshire Client

When they had the loft insulation installed, the Retrofit Coordinator conducted a quality assessment. This assessment pinpointed some issues, known as snagging issues, which the contractor promptly fixed.

Before and After External Wall Insulation Install
Gaining expert guidance

Eleanor and Chris appreciate that Cosy Homes looks at the whole house when making energy-efficient upgrades. They sought guidance from their Retrofit Coordinator to explore various measures and understand how these changes would work together to significantly reduce their home’s carbon footprint in the long run.

“We’re delighted with the Cosy Homes team. As neither of us is tech-savvy, we truly appreciate and value the guidance and advice they’ve provided.”

Eleanor, Cosy Homes Oxfordshire Client
Retrofit Coordinator was on hand to oversee the project
A quality assessment of the loft insulation
Estimated Savings

Savings are based on Whole House Plan estimates and following the recommended measures. The following savings are estimated for the home calculated in November 2022:

  • 27% saving on carbon emissions, from 3.07 tonnes to 2.23 tonnes
  • 26% saving on fuel bills, from £1,590 to £1,180 per year
  • A boost from EPC rating C to B

Are you considering upgrading your home?

If you’re thinking about making your home more energy-efficient, and you live in Oxfordshire, reach out to our expert team.

Our free Plan Builder tool is designed to help Oxfordshire residents develop an energy-efficiency plan for their homes. Just enter your postcode, and you’ll receive detailed information about your home’s current energy efficiency and performance based on existing data. After that, set your budget and priorities, and the Plan Builder will generate a preliminary retrofit plan for your home – editable to fit your specific needs.

Read more retrofit stories

  • Orchard House retrofit

    Mary and Philip opted for an assessment, which led to the development of a comprehensive Whole House Plan crafted by a qualified Retrofit Coordinator. This plan outlined all the necessary recommendations, actions, quotes, and
  • Maureen Dyroff Thermal camera house

    Maureen’s Whole House Plan story

    Concerned about climate change and eager to cut both carbon emissions and fuel bills, Maureen decided to investigate her home’s energy efficiency. A thermal imaging camera had highlighted an urgent need for improved insulation, and she also was considering

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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