Heather and her husband moved to Somerset from Surrey/Hampshire in November 2020. Their new home in Sedgemoor is a 4-bed 1780 build ‘Somerset Long House’ which had an EPC rating of F. Their previous house was a new build property with an EPC rating of B. Quite a contrast!
The house had very little insulation and original single glazed sash windows and was heated by oil-fired central heating. This resulted in massive heat loss. A beautiful period home but very inefficient and expensive to heat, and completely reliant on fossil fuels.
‘To be honest the first winter l was freezing and constantly complained of cold yet was very aware of the cost of burning oil and the heat loss.’
Fortunately for Heather, the property was not a listed building, and therefore it was possible to make adaptations. These all helped to reduce heat loss at the property.
Firstly, using the fabric first approach of retrofitting, they attempted to improve the heat retention of the building. They installed a minimum of 400mm fibreglass loft insulation throughout their sizeable loft-space. It was an arduous job they did themselves, crawling through the loft space to lay the rolls of insulation. But one that was worth doing as it has already made a huge difference to the comfort of the property and reduction of energy costs.
Around the same time as topping up the insulation, they installed 16 solar photovoltaic panels to generate electricity on their roof, along with 2 batteries for storage. This enables them to be more sustainable and less reliant on the grid as well as to reduce running costs. Heather was very pleased with the minimal disruption the installation caused. Just one day to put up scaffolding and then one day for the installation of the panels.
They are currently in the process of installing a solar thermal system. This should mean they will have a renewable supply of hot water without having to use the oil heating – again saving costs. Like the other eco improvements this also positively impacts the EPC rating of the property.
Next on this list to tackle are the original sash windows. They are considering installing double-glazed shutters behind the windows as a solution to reduce heat loss while retaining the original features and looks.
Outside of the property they have planted several trees, created some vegetable patches, have given over two borders to wildflowers and have front garden which is attractive to pollinator insects. They have also installed a couple of water butts to harvest rainwater which can then be used to water plants over the summer.