We are doing a major refurb/extension and have the opportunity to include Passivhaus/EnerPHit level insulation, including cladding external walls, replacing suspended floors with solid and underfloor heating and realise we need MVHR kit to keep the air fresh and avoid condensation. As much as we want energy efficiency and are willing to pay for airtightness we are concerned we will be creating more problems than solving. Any experiences greatly appreciated – we’re at design phase, having visited every show going over the last 6 months.

  • Jane Caccavale

    Hi Colette, we’re the EnerPhit bloggers who converted the Victorian terrace; we were certified to EnerPhit standard last May – yes, I really really need to update the entries! (in my defense, I had a baby as well as moved house, renovated etc). How far through with your refurb? The main thing to consider with EnerPhit is that once the walls etc are all airtight then its a pain to move anything (such as putting in additional power points) as it breaks the seals. So better to plan everything on paper (we even did our interior design work upfront). On the plus side, we’re in our house now and its always at least 19oC, even after coming back from a few days away over Christmas.

    If you’re in London anytime, happy to have you visit. The place is still bedlam as its not finished the internal refurb but the energy efficiency pieces are all in place.

  • Colette Foan

    Thanks Jane, very helpful. We’re right at the beginning – we’ve bought the house and are into detailed discussions with architects. We don’t know whether to go with an architect who has experience of Passivhaus/EnerPHit or one we have worked with in the past and know and trust but has only worked with ‘standard’ developments. Do you have MVHR? If temperature is 19oC can you cool our bedroom during the night for example. Finally, we plan to replace suspended ground floor for solid with underfloor heating but can’t decide how to heat bedrooms/bathrooms upstairs (or if we’ll need to). We’re finding it very hard to get independent knowledgable advice – any suggestions?

  • Adam


    What you are planning sounds exciting regardless of the path you choose.

    What is absolutely essential at this stage is research. To take a building of Edwardian age and make it airtight is an enormous undertaking in both cost and effort. Critically, these buildings were designed and built to allow the passage of air around the building. It will require someone with an intimate understanding of your homes architecture and passivhaus principles.
    Research well and make sure you have the right people lined up to do the job!

    Good luck.


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