As I research what house I would like to build or renovate, from the start I have been clear that it would be energy efficient. It seems pointless to be doing anything else when we know that in the not too distant future energy prices will double and then triple, and so on.
That’s why I’ve enjoyed learning about the Passivhaus standard because it seems to be a great strategy – with a fabric first approach.
I can’t say I’ve ever really been taken by modern architecture, but I keep telling myself to stay open and I think this has been very good for me. I’m beginning to understand why so much timber cladding is used on buildings these days, why everything seems so open plan and why it’s not a criminal act to put up something modern in a twee village. These are big breakthroughs to me. In a funny way I could now see myself doing a project like this. However, I have a wife . . .
This is where doing things on your own must make life so much easier! My wife is not a fan of modern architecture and sees it as a blight on the landscape (I must admit in our home town – Hertford – I don’t think there are great examples). So, for us, it’s likely to end up being a period property. I love old buildings so it’s not that I mind, although it comes with the proviso of making it energy efficient.
After being wowed by a Victorian Passivhaus retrofit that I visited recently, this seemed like a very desirable option for me and my wife. Not only that, but I am well aware that it is our existing housing stock where the big energy savings need to be made. That’s where this episode gets interesting.
I saw a talk that Roger Hunt gave at the National Home Improvement Show earlier in the year and after receiving some great information I lined him up for the podcast. Next year he releases the Old House Eco Handbook, in association with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and his message is one of caution when it comes to retrofitting any old house for energy efficiency.