Thursday, 22 November 2007

Top eco-rating award for '20's terrace house

Solar panels, under-floor heating powered by a ground source heat pump, low energy lightbulbs and even a "green roof" have helped make a 1920s terrace house become one of the oldest houses in the UK to gain a top "eco-homes" rating.

While the Government has pledged to make all new build houses zero carbon by 2016, the Bournville Village Trust have refurbished one of their properties in Bournville, south Birmingham to demonstrate how the carbon footprint of current, inefficient, housing stock can be reduced.
Some of the features of the small three-bedroom terrace family home are to be expected: LED and low energy lighting and double glazing are now adopted as standard by the housing association in its refurbishment programme.
The heating and hot water supply are generated by a combination of solar panels and a ground source pump which draws heat from 65 metres underground.

Light wells into the kitchen - where the cupboards are made of recycled wood - bring in extra daylight and all the appliances in the kitchen have a A-grade efficiency rating. All the walls and roof are insulated.

Even the paint is water rather than oil-based and the downstairs rooms are tiled to allow the underfloor heating to work more effectively.

In the garden, bricks recycled from a wall taken down in the house, have formed the patio, while a pond, bird boxes and even the plants encourage wildlife. The fences are made from recycled plastic, which is manufactured to look very similar to wood.

There's green roof over the kitchen extension, planted with low-growing sedum which supports insect life and limits run-off, as well as water butts and composting and recycling bins.

Every part of the house has been designed with the environment in mind, so that even the driveway is porous to allow rainwater to drain away.

Some of the work is expensive and will not be applied to other refurbishment work by the trust. Some environmental features were rejected on the basis of cost - or because they would be ineffective, such as a wind turbine.
Jane Gething-Lewis
full article

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