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Islington high comfort low energy Victorian townhouse

Our clients wanted to update their dilapidated but beautiful Victorian house into a high quality, modern, comfortable family home. After employing the architects Cousins & Cousins to create the overall concept and plans for the extension and refurbishment, they contacted Enhabit to see if they could improve the energy performance and comfort.

The semi-detached property of just over 210m2 (after the extension) is located in a desirable conservation area on a tight building site with strong aesthetic restrictions from the planners.

Enhabit started by providing a design review, which established that there was potential to transform the energy performance and comfort of the property. The clients were up to the challenge and Enhabit set about collaborating with the architect to make it happen. The services provided included technical design support, PHPP modelling, onsite support, airtightness training and testing.

Once the contractor had been selected to build the project, they appointed Enhabit’s in-house subcontractors to support them by designing, supplying and installing the heating and plumbing systems.

The refurbishment aimed to achieve a heating demand of 50kWh/m2 – ambitious for a project of this type. This would grant it a peak heating demand close to just one-third of what could be expected from a normal Victorian house of this style.

The refurbishment, basement and extension involved the application of high-performance Internal Wall Insulation (IWI) on the existing walls, the construction of new super-insulated cavity walls and the application of roof and floor insulation. Only double glazed sash windows could be installed due to planning restrictions, but these were carefully fitted to be as airtight as possible.

A bespoke airtightness strategy was applied and a Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) system with bespoke hidden valves was installed to further improve the energy efficiency and comfort levels of the townhouse. The heating system uses a high efficiency gas system boiler and a large storage tank for solar heating. Internet-linked smart heating controls are also used with the zoned underfloor and radiator heating system.

The combined measures produce a truly 21st century home that still maintains its 19th century charm. The clients moved in during June 2016, and in the first full year have spent less than £450 on space heating.

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