Filling in the gaps helps a Victorian council house cut emissions by 70-80%

Camden Council has cut the emissions of a Victorian Council house by around 70-80%. It will officially launch the Low Energy Victorian House on September 8th, although curious members of the public have been allowed to look around the house from two to five PM in Sundays during August.

The north London terrace house, which sits in a conservation area is one of around 4.4m homes in the country built prior to 1919. These tend to have more than twice the emissions of houses built to current building regulations.

John Doggart, chairman of the Sustainable Energy Academy (SEA), which partnered with the council, said solar PV for the house cost around £25,000 with insulation, heat exchangers, four inches of wall insulation, argon-filled double glazing and under-floor insulation in the basement costing another £25,000.

"It's about the same price as a new bathroom or kitchen," he said. "It increases the asset value of your property by 6% as well as saving over £1,000 in fuel bills. You can borrow from the bank to make improvements."

U-values on the property are 20% lower than current building regulations. Initial porosity for Augustin Road was 30m3/m2/hr, now reduced to the 5m3/m2/hr required for new build. Additionally, the house has local heat exchange ventilation, 6m2 of solar thermal and 3.5kWp of solar PV.

It is understood that English Heritage is preparing a report on how successful the project has been in keeping the character of the house while retaining only some of the original features. A Camden council spokesman said what 'historic building stock' people wanted to 'inherit' was an important issue.

But Doggart said that, with the government committed to 60% reductions of domestic emissions by 2050, converting 500,000 houses a year every year for the next forty years would be necessary, including those in conservation areas.

"It's a huge business, £10-15 billion a year. It's as big as new build," he said.

The house is one of 25 SEA superhomes nationwide. Other partners include Kingspan, UCL and the Green Homes Concierge. The Camden superhome,17 St Augustine’s Road, NW1 9XB is open every Sunday from 2-5pm until mid-October.