SuperHome Open Days Showcase Eco-refurb

6th September, 2012

50 SuperHomes are now confirmed to open in September, of which11 will open for the first time, including the first SuperHome in Northern Ireland. SuperHomes are older properties renovated by their owners to reduce carbon emissions by at least 60%. These include Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and more modern properties. All have been transformed in terms of their energy efficiency, so they are warm, comfortable and have enviably low energy bills.

SuperHomers are committed individuals who have installed a range of insulating and energy generating measures to make their homes fit for the 21st Century. As well as protecting their households from rising fuel costs these SuperHomers are experimenting with new ways to make older homes much more environmentally friendly. The added resilience comes mostly in the form of superior insulation, but many have alternative heating sources and some produce their own energy.

SuperHome Open Days present a rare opportunity to see green technologies in situ. These include biomass boilers, heat pumps, mechanical ventilation and heat recovery and water saving devices; also triple glazing, modern wood stoves and all types of insulation. Virtually every technology expected to attract Green Deal finance can be inspected at closer quarters this September.

Most SuperHomes retain their original period charm at the front, and this can be a surprise given the level of carbon reduction achieved. However, a number of homes have a real surprise in store around the back, especially those renovated or extended to take full advantage of the available heat from the sun.

One such example is Trevor and Sandra Collins’s 1969 bungalow (pictured above). The property looks like a standard bungalow at the front. Round the back, however, is a beautifully glazed south facing façade which makes the most of the potential for solar gain and brings huge amounts of light into the interior. Several other homes on show in September have been similarly improved to take full advantage of the sun, both for winter warmth and summer passive ventilation.

There are many different reasons for undertaking a whole house refurbishment, these include saving money, reducing waste, providing energy security and saving the planet. As energy prices continue their march upwards and the government launches the Green Deal it is expected that the number of refurbished energy efficient properties in the UK will grow fast.

The SuperHomes network is itself expanding rapidly and is now up to 135 homes. A very recent addition is Northern Ireland’s first SuperHome. Carbon emissions associated with this Victorian house in Belfast have been reduced by 85% by measures including extensive internal insulation, triple glazing and a new boiler. September is set to be a very exciting month for anyone considering greening their
home. SuperHomers alone are hosting 85 open day events. A number of other green initiatives are also opening their doors from 6 - 9 September including GreenDor in Dorchester, EcoHab in Cheltenham and Forest Eco Open Homes in Gloucestershire.

Most SuperHomes are opening in association with Heritage Open Days and Open House London. Both these offer searchable green themed events. Meanwhile, seeing eco-refurbishment at its best is as simple as attending a FREE open day at any one of the 50 SuperHomes involved.

SuperHomes are open to the public in September, March and at other times by appointment. For more information, visit www.superhomes.org.uk

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