Eco-refurbishment in action
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ECO-REFURBISHMENT Personal and practical advice for creating a
Eco-refurbishment in action
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 front door.  
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 75%.
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 brought together.’
The house has been written about in The Times and The Independent. Click on the links to read the articles.
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.