Our showcase home is No 73 Chester Road, a semi-detached Victorian house in a
North London conservation area. Like most of the UK’s old housing stock, its energy performance was well below current acceptable
standards. Heating bills were high, the house was cold and draughty, and it
suffered from condensation. But in 2007, under the direction of Sarah Harrison,
it was transformed into a home fit for the 21st century.
The roof, floors and all the external walls were insulated, and windows and
doors draught-sealed to reduce heat loss. An internal draught lobby was created
by installing a door in the hall, significantly reducing heat lost through the
The original sash windows at the front and new windows at the rear all have
argon-filled double-glazing and low-‘e’ glass that reduces heat loss. Low energy lights and applicances are used
throughout the house.
A wood-burning stove now provides warmth for the main living area. Water is
heated by solar thermal panels, reducing the gas needed for water heating by
Restricting valves limit the flow of water into the sink, wash-basins and
shower. The garden is watered with rainwater collected from the roof in a ‘water-wall’, and bathwater can be diverted to the garden in dry weather.
As a result of this refurbishment, carbon emissions were reduced by nearly 70%
and water consumption by over 30%. According to the Sustainable Development
Commission, ‘73 Chester Road is an exemplar of how heritage and energy conservation can be
No 73 is open to the public several times a year, and can also be visited
privately by prior arrangement. For more information, see Other services.