SuperHomer Paul Capel explains how increased use of passive heating and cooling has been one of the big wins of his home eco retrofit. His house is one of 13 Walter Segal self-build properties built in 1985/6 on the side of a hill in Lewisham, London. The property is timber framed and raised on stilts which meant it was possible to access underneath the house. A solar chimney and thermal store are two of the more unusual features of this eco renovation.
The owner’s holistic approach to eco refurbishment was influenced by the concepts of Passiv Haus and ‘Cradle to Cradle’. This led to a high investment in improving the envelope of the building to ensure low energy use.
The floor, walls and roof were insulated with the wall insulation fitted externally using a dense but breathable wood waste material. Solar thermal on the roof is connected to a heat store which both feeds the underfloor heating in winter and provides domestic hot water in summer. Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery also installed and is used primarily in winter to minimise heat loss whilst maintaining the interior air quality.
With a two storey passive solar chimney (or glass box) and triple glazing on the south facing wall cool air is naturally drawn into the house in summer, avoiding overheating in spite of the radiant heat from the internal solar thermal store.
Challenges faced included hoisting of massive pre-made glazing into place – this took 8 people – plus the joyful arrival of a baby mid refurbishment.
This Walter Segal self-build house in Walter’s Way, London, is one of the homes in the SuperHomes network of older homes that have been renovated by their owners to reduce carbon emissions by at least 60%. Most SuperHomes host public open days in Spring or September. For more, visit Paul’s house.