With the green deal announced to improve home energy efficiency, we look at Tracey Hillyard and her retrofit experience
Retrofit for the Future is a nationwide government programme trialling innovative energy-saving technologies. (Photography: Morley von Sternberg)
Tracey Hillyard and her three teenage children live in a small, 1990s terraced house whose leaky walls and roof were leaching heat out of the home. Concerned about escalating energy bill, Tracey approached her housing association, East Thames, about the problem.
As luck would have it, East Thames had been invited to participate in a nationwide government programme, Retrofit for the Future, trialling innovative energy saving technologies. So Tracey’s home was put forward as a case study.
Architects Penoyre & Prasad spent a lot of time with Tracey and her family finding out about their concerns and lifestyle in order to identify the right solutions. Project architect David Cole says: “Although the main room had good daylight, the hallway, stairs and landing were dark, with an oversized landing that nobody used.
“There was a lack of storage and nowhere to dry clothes. The tumble dryer was on constantly – accounting for one-fifth of all the house’s energy use. Also, doors and windows were being opened frequently because the family are smokers.”
The architects proposed creating a large lightwell in the roof, which floods the stairs and landing with daylight and creates a natural space for drying laundry on the newly-installed drying rack. Either side of the skylight, a loft area has been created with ample storage, accessed by a neat wooden ladder up to a mezzanine area. Below the mezzanine a tranquil, daylit resting spot has been created, complete with chaise longue.
The large rooflight opens and closes according to electronic temperature and humidity sensors, bringing a constant flow of fresh air into the house, which circulates down through to the ground via ventilation grilles placed alongside new triple-glazed windows. Slimline, with a tilt-and-turn closing mechanism, they are completely secure.
Tracey says: “I never shut the grilles. I’m a panicker and I get scared at night. But I leave them open. We get up in the morning and it’s beautiful, fresh air.”
The total cost of the works and materials (excluding research and design fees) was £72,500, including lightwell, new windows, and insulation of the roof, walls and floor. These measures have already brought energy use down by an estimated 69% and carbon emissions by 79%. Tracey and her family love the new sense of light and space, as well as the reduced bills. “I only have to put the heating on for an hour, and the house stays warm all day,” she says.
Author: Veronica Simpson
Source: The Guardian