It’s Open House time again. Time to invite people keen on retrofit to visit and experience what an eco friendly, energy efficient house feels like.

I held my first Open House last summer for SustFest. Over two days, six sessions with six people filled up well before the event, so I felt very encouraged. After all, 21% of UK emissions comes from leaky homes, so every retrofit is a plus for the environment. 

The downside to offering visits in June was summer! Much better to visit an eco house when it’s colder so you can feel the warmth and listen to the air source heat pump.

There’s nothing to see

There is one big problem: nothing to look at – everything of interest is hidden behind the plaster. My solution was to blow up pictures of what lay behind the paintwork and place them in situ. That way visitors would get some idea of the process.

Insulating under the suspended floor is an important part of the process – again, nothing much to see . For this, John made a great model so we could actively demonstrate how we did it. It’s a great help and makes it easy to demonstrate why wood fibre insulation works so much better than Kingspan/Celotex.

Most common question?

Doesn’t internal wall insulation (IWI) take up a lot of space and make the room smaller?

I love that moment when people see what 100mm actually looks like. In fact, it’s very little when compared to a full room. I remember worrying, imagining the walls closing in on me. In reality, if I didn’t know it had been done, I’m not sure I’d have even noticed.

You’re welcome

So if you’re in Hertfordshire and you’d like to understand more about the retrofit process, while sitting in the warm and comfortable atmosphere, keep an eye out for the next event.

Listen to the air source heat pump, feel the underfloor heating running at a lower temperature, see triple glazed windows, experience heat recovery ventilation units first hand and get up close and personal to different types of insulation material.

We’ll have a coffee, talk about the process and answer questions, then walk around the house to see what it looks and feels like. It’s not a show house – so don’t expect perfection – this is home. Mostly finished but not entirely; mostly tidy, but not everywhere.

So come and explore with us. If we can do it, so can you. And the benefits are all to go for: significantly more comfortable and saving 75% of energy usage each year.

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