The Building

The house was built in 1979, before people started taking energy conservation seriously. There was 100mm of rockwool insulation installed in the loft, however if you look carefully at the photograph you will see that ring beam is on top of the floor joist meaning that the floor space is open to the sofit at the front of the house. The same is true of the North West facing rear of the house. A considerable amount of heat was lost due to drafts through the house before this project started.

Heating of the house is by a coal fired boiler. The output for this is slightly too low for the size of the house given its leaky nature. As the boiler is based on 30 year old technology it is inefficient – probably no more than 20%. Having been raised in the countryside I tend to keep the house quite cool – usually in the region of the 18˚C .

On a cold (-6˚C ) windy day two scuttles of coal – 74kg each providing a total of 150kw - were required over a 24 hour period to maintain this temperature. However if there was sufficient sunshine the coal consumption dropped by half. Note the large South facing window on the first floor which acts as a passive solar collector.

The project involves the enhancement of the building's ability to capture solar energy, improvements in the movement of warm air within the building and both the long and short term storage of heat energy.