This is a semi-detached dwelling built originally by the Edmondsham Estate in Cranborne in 1890, located within a Conservation Area. It has 2.5 bedrooms, the 3rd considered to be more of a “box room” with a window. It has stretcher brickwork with possibly one of the earliest local cavity construction, and has bitumen dipped iron wall ties. It has a full attic floor to the eaves, and Welsh slate roof of 40 degree pitch. The majority of the original ground floor construction was suspended timber floor with vented solum.
Although part-refurbished in 2015, the intention this year has been to undertake a 30-year “fabric first” thermal upgrade to produce what I like to refer to as a “Nero-carbon” home. It is intended that all the heating & hot water demand should be mostly generated with the house curtilage - mainly to be as least reliant as possible on the National Grid. Future-proofing: we have also added the ground floor wc & shower with grabs etc., in case the property ever still needs to be used by an elderly relative living solely downstairs. All threshold/level accesses too would have to be re-visited & adapted at this juncture.
Services Features: The "non-street" Southerly elevation has been fitted with Photovoltaic “in-roof” panels (not so prominent), which are connected to a storage battery located in the attic. An air-source heat pump (ASHP) will fuel the heating systems & hot water, powered directly from the battery whenever possible. For every 1kW of electricity used by an ASHP, the output should be around 4kW, ie a net gain of 3kW affectively “free” - (we shall see). The “under" ground floor heating will circulate at a more efficient 40deg C, and the first floor radiators at 60deg C - a compromise with the existing timber 1st floor joists. There was an electric boiler installed in 2015. We have decided to retain this as a secondary manual boost if ever required in winter times when the temperature drops below zero and the ASHP may be straining to cope. Alternatively, if Putin persists in Ukraine and we have power cuts this winter - (I remember doing my homework by candlelight in the 70’s) - we have a wood-burning stove with cooking plate to install in the living room if required.
We believe we shall have to change our living habits with respect to the timings of washing ourselves, crockery & clothes. We intend to monitor - (if we can organise the installation of a Smart Meter asap) - how the house performs over the next 12 months, and all the lessons no doubt we shall learn. So please come back to visit in 2023 to see what has happened!
Please note if any visitors think of doing something similar: this level of internal thermal upgrade cannot be undertaken whilst living in the property - (too much dust). Also since April of this year, VAT on energy saving measures has been reduced from 5% to zero. However - what I call “titivation”, (which is the upgrading of kitchens & bathrooms), still remains at the 20% rate which I believe to be a fair arrangement. There are grants available I believe for the installation of ASHP’s, but these are around £5K against an average current cost of around £12K - perhaps not incentive enough?
Thermal Performance of Openings / Glazing: At the time of writing this factsheet, we are predicted to achieve a mid-B rating on the EPC scale, (using a SAP method of assessment). This is without considering what we should do over upgrading the glazing and draught-stripping to the existing windows. We intend to have a new replica front door made locally, apart from possibly a letter box, as these tend to be great draught creators, especially when the post is stuck halfway in the flap! All the glazing to the 30year old conservatory, (installed by the previous owner), is being upgraded with “K”glass to reduce the current overheating issue.
Other Sustainable Features / Changes to Routines: Within the curtilage, there is an EV charging point, a green roofed bin store, a cycle store, composter & garden bin, rainwater butt / harvester. Over the next year it is intended to develop the rear garden to include traditional Victorian planting in a cottage garden - a mix of herbs, vegetables & flowers. We shall be drying clothes & towels naturally on airers - (we have never owned a dryer) - and solar charging small batteries under the dry of the conservatory. Washing appliances (clothes & dishwasher) will have timer delays to optimise best time of day to deploy. We are also going to explore a further variety of recipes / techniques to cook using a slow cooker …………….