Category: Community Energy Saving Projects

Research finds that SuperHomes use 40% less energy

Detailed research into the energy use of SuperHomes reveals that, on average, they are using 40% less energy per square metre per year than the average UK home. SuperHomes are, therefore, much cheaper to run than their unrefurbished neighbours.

Chester SuperHome
Chester SuperHome. Whilst bills are similar to the owner’s previous home, that home was half the size!

The most energy efficient home in the study, whilst offering improved comfort, uses a staggering 86% less energy than the average home.

One of the participants in this research, Simon Brown, is no stranger to the benefits of retrofit. He says “After the first year, we were pleasantly surprised to find our total gas and electricity bill was slightly less than in our previous home, which was half the size.”

So, whilst low-carbon and low-energy don’t necessarily go hand in hand, this study confirms that SuperHomes excel in both respects.

The research report shows that an average SuperHome:

  • Is over 40% more energy-efficient than the average UK home in its energy use per square metre per year.
  • Consumes about 19% less total energy than the average UK home each year, despite having a larger than average floor area and a higher than average occupancy, and being older than an average house building.
  • Uses 104kWh of energy per square metre per year, compared with a national average of 177kWh/m2/yr.
  • Consumes a total of 14,722kWh of energy per annum, compared with an average household consumption of 18,100kWh.
  • Achieves an incredible average reduction of 72% in carbon emissions, based on comparisons between pre- and post-retrofit emissions

The most energy-efficient SuperHome in the survey (refurbished to the exacting Passivhaus standard) was found to use just 25kWh/m2/yr, an impressive 86% less than the national average.

Gabby Mallett, Director of SuperHomes and Households and Communities at the National Energy Foundation, commented:

“Many people assume that a low-carbon home is also a low-energy one. However, this is not necessarily the case … it’s fantastic to discover that many SuperHomes have not only gone much further than a 60% carbon reduction, but they’ve achieved great results on energy too.”

SuperHomes are older homes refurbished by their owners to deliver a carbon saving of at least 60%. The owners host free open days in September to share the benefits and the challenges of home refurbishment.

Researchers at the National Energy Foundation (NEF) calculated the energy and carbon figures for a representative sample of the existing 205 SuperHomes, by per person per year, and by per square metre of floor space per year. Using the 2012 National Energy Efficiency Data-Framework (NEED) sample, NEF was able to make comparisons between an average SuperHome and the average UK home with the same number of occupants or of the same size.

Read the Energy Efficiency Benchmarks for SuperHomes Report

Warm homes the key to healthy people

The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is leading a number of support agencies and groups across Bristol, England as part of a Department of Health-backed project aimed at breaking the link between cold homes and bad health.

The new Bristol City Council-backed Keep Warm in Bristol project aims to improve the health of thousands of deprived Bristol households by tackling the thermal comfort of their homes.

Read full CSE news article

More about the project

Approaches to Community Action on Climate Change – website

Checkout this website for nearly 40 different community approachesto action on climate change – from running pledge campaigns to establishing bulk buy schemes to developing community renewables projects.  The website also provides links to a wide range of community examples in action and further resources and information that may be relevant to each approach. The site currently has an emphasis on energy issues but other issues like food and transport are touched on.

Hyson Green Eco House – Nottingham, UK

The Partnership Council is a community charity based in Radford, Nottingham, UK has been given planning permission by Nottingham City Council to convert a small terraced house on St Paul’s Terrace in Hyson Green into the Hyson Green Eco House.

The Eco House will be used as a base for money-saving information and community workshops to help local people save money on fuel bills. Free workshops will teach simple, affordable DIY techniques, which people can use in their own homes.

Nottingham City Homes will lend the property to the Partnership Council, to help improve the quality of life for local families. We are now just awaiting the final paperwork.

Moby Farrands from the Partnership Council, who’s been planning the project, said:

“Other Eco Houses in the UK have cost thousands of pounds to reduce their energy bills. Most are large houses with big gardens, owned by organisations or people who can afford expensive adjustments – installing heat pumps, solar panels and hi-tech insulation.

Our Eco House has a concrete back yard and a draughty front door into the living room,  its like many local houses.  We will show you can cut costs in a small house on a tiny budget, using your own skills, with help from fellow volunteers and recycled materials.

We will start with activities like sewing and putting up thermal curtains, draught-proofing floor boards, growing food on a small budget- not like the ‘Grand Designs’ Eco homes on the TV programme. We are keen to hear from anyone with their own home-grown designs or a skill to share – DIY, sewing, recycling or container-gardening. And a fun bit- we want some volunteers to build us a bicycle smoothie-maker.”

Key Motivation

Moby said that:

“Our Eco House Project is motivated by the findings that impoverished owner occupiers and tenants of private landlords have limited resources and little motivation for projects for carbon reduction. Our Project aims to help people with small scale DIY projects, and to experiment with alternatives to expensive options, with the focus on reduced fuel bills. We will hope to give information and support with applications for grants for more hi-tech options, and to campaign with public authorities for larger scale action. Our main focus is small old terraced housing, much of which will still be accommodation for the poor in 20 to 30 years time in many Midlands and Northern cities.”

More information

Smart Communities Project – Research to help families go green

Families from Kingston in south west London are getting involved in a ground-breaking project to reduce the amount of energy they use. Around 500 households and a primary school in the north of the borough are taking part in the Smart Communities project, led by a team of researchers from Kingston University, which aims to help them reduce their energy consumption and save money by measuring their usage against that of their neighbours.

Full report:-

MP Zac Goldsmith launches research to help families go green – Press office – Kingston University London.

Direct link to Smart Communities Project