We bought the Old Post Office (OPO) in October of 2010. The original house dates from about 1700, with an extension at the back which was added in 1988.
We bought it as a project and knew we were going to have to strip it back to the bare walls/floors throughout, so we thought it would be a good idea to build in modern insulation. That was about the extent of it: we did not know much back then about LCHN and we’re not very technically minded. Fortunately, working with us on the OPO was Charlie Luxton, who is an active member and told us about the scheme.
The loan was straightforward to organize with the help of the guys at LCHN who went out of their way to help us and make the process easy. We signed our agreement at the brewery in February. All I can say is any bank that starts organising loans in that sort of environment will probably double their business!
We borrowed £10K, and spent a significant portion of it on insulation. This included installing Pavatex Pavadentro 100mm internal wall insulation to the external walls in the house. In addition we installed insulation between and below the rafters in the roof. Insulation may not seem like the most glamorous way to invest in low-energy properties, but it is one of the most effective, and Pavadentro is state-of-the-art stuff. Made from waste soft wood, it is breathable, vapour permeable, and naturally disperses any moisture through ‘capillary action’ which is then released back into the room, making it an especially good choice for older properties that may have a tendency toward dampness-in other words, as well as keeping you warm, it will actually wick moisture away from the walls. The thickness means it is does steal a bit of your space, and we did panic a little that we were sacrificing a lot of space when it started going up, but the colour makes it look more oppressive than it actually is, so once it was plastered and painted, we realized that in fact the difference is minimal.
Here are some shots showing the insulation going in, both to the external walls and the roof.
The project is nearly finished now, and we’re really pleased with it. We were initially very focused on how much warmer and more efficient the house would be in winter, it was a real revelation to see how effectively it actually works both ways, keeping the house cool in summer as well. We have yet to experience our newly insulated house in the cold, but we’ve been over there on some very sweaty and oppressive summer days, and the temperature inside remains cool and comfortable.
We spent the rest of our loan on installing a new, very efficient boiler, and two thermal panels on the roof to heat our water. These have yet to be tested, but we understand they will make a minimal difference in winter but a significant difference in summer, providing most of our hot water.
Here’s the house from the outside, showing the solar panels
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