St Augustine's Road

Launch of the Victorian Home of the Future

Overview

Russell Timber Technology are proud to have supplied the High Performance Sustainable and Energy Efficient, Secured by Design, Doors and Windows to the ground-breaking experiment innovated by Camden Council and Partners at 17 St Augustine's Road.

This brick built, Victorian property constructed in approximately 1850, was a six bedroom, semi-detached, Palladian-style home in a very bad state of repair having previously been occupied by squatters. The project was undertaken in a conservation area to reduce carbon emissions by 80% whilst preserving the heritage. At the launch of the project in September 2008, workshops were held on the heritage issues, techniques and policy implications of turning existing homes into low energy homes.

Context

Existing houses are increasingly recognised as one of the key barriers to major reductions in CO2 emissions. This is especially true for the 4.4 million houses built before 1919, most of which have twice the emissions of comparable houses built to current building regulations. However these houses play a pivotal role in defining the character of our neighbourhoods. The challenge of this project was to show that reducing emissions is compatible with the preservation of heritage. In achieving this, it proved how Victorian and other period housing could be bequeathed to future generations so that they could benefit from their heritage value without being burdened with the mill stone of high carbon.

St Augustine's Road

Technology

At the heart of this project was greatly increased insulation and air tightness. The ‘U’ Values were about 20% lower than those required by the Building Regulations for new build. Initial air leakage was over 30m3/m2hr; this has been significantly reduced to 6.2m3/m2hr – well below that required by current regulations.

In addition the house now has local heat exchange ventilation, 6m2 of Solar Thermal and 3.5kWp of Solar PV. It is believed the changes made at St Augustine’s Road could cut carbon emissions by up to 80%. The project was assisted and monitored with Camden Council by the Sustainable  Energy Academy, the National Energy Foundation  and University College London. Monitoring the effects of greatly increased insulation and air tightness are resulting in constructive and reliable information for use by public bodies and individuals alike.

St Augustine's Road

Other Cutting Edge Improvements

Besides the focus on carbon emission reduction, this project also encompassed other cutting edge technology:

  • Floor, roof and wall insulation at or approaching Passivhaus standards (external walls dry lined / over clad)
  • Windows that beat current building regulations by 35%
  • Solar thermal power (6m2) and 3.5kWp solar PV
  • Heat recovery ventilation
  • Rainwater harvesting testing

University College London will monitor how the house performs over the next five years, during which time it is open for free public tours so members of the public can see how the technology could transform their own home by cutting energy use, saving money on fuel bills and reducing their carbon footprint.