Human Library on Home Energy

Human Library on Home Energy

Sat 21 Oct 2023, 10:00am – 4:00pm

So how does a human library work?

‘Books’ in the Human Library are subject matter experts that you can borrow for a chat on their area of expertise. Borrowers can browse the available ‘books’ and select who they would like to speak to in advance, there will be space for drop-ins on the day too but you may have to wait. ‘Books’ each have their own area with a couple of seats for lenders to sit down and talk. There’s no minimum time for borrowers to spend with a ‘book’, but 10 minutes is the maximum for one person.

This is a free event, all welcome.

Leave in or take out? Visitors wanting to delve deeper, can find more advice, information and support on our website at

This year’s human books include:

Creative Retrofitting by Shaun Lindsay

Shaun is the owner of the Macfarlane Close Open Eco Home, a 1960’s house in Impington that has undergone a thoughtful and complete renovation. Shaun retrofitted his home over several years completing the project in stages, partly DIY and partly with a local builder. The entire house was addressed, with internal walls and floors removed and rebuilt. The project was self-financed with some savings and an extra mortgage. He is now a Trustee of CCF and hosts Thermal Imaging cameras through the winter, keen to help others improve their own homes. 

Pathways to Electrification of the Home by Ian Cray

Ian is a former OEH host of Aberdeen Square. He is keen to talk about how we have seen a significant reductions in the carbon intensity of the grid in the past 10 years (although a lot more can be done). A variety of electricity tariffs now  cater for different user profiles by offering specific tariffs for EVs, heat pumps and other heating solutions. Storage via batteries can lead to a reduction in running costs and carbon intensity, and machine learning is assisting in the optimisation of heating requirements with advancements in  heat pumps, heat batteries, and infrared as possible pathways to electrification and transitioning away from gas & oil.


A Long and Winding Road – DIY towards a Zero Carbon House by Martin Roach

Martin has undertaken extensive DIY work to decarbonise his home on Hills Road. From secondary glazing to new tech vacuum glaze and cladding in original windows, through underfloor insulation, via internal and external wall and chimney insulation to draught-proofing in unexpected places, he’s done them all.

 Heat Pumps and Other Options by Nicola Terry 

As a consultant in building energy use and an early adopter, Nicola has extensively retrofitted her own Victorian house. Measures include: external and internal solid wall insulation, MVHR (ventilation with heat recovery), solar PV and hot water. Most recently, an air source heat pump was installed in 2021. Nicola is an important volunteer with CCF and is running two talks this season, Low Carbon Heating Options and the Cambridge Retrofit Guide

 Can I Have a Heat Pump? and Navigating the Eco Dictionary by Norman Gentry 

Norman has experience of retro-fitting to a 1980’s property installing Solar Thermal and solar PV systems, an air source heat pump and solar batteries, as well as some wonderful low cost solutions such as radiator reflectors and a Chimney Sheep. Norman is a fantastic source of information when it comes to navigating the often complex world of ‘eco’ language and acronyms and has produced his own dictionary. He has also created a guide to funding and finances available to those embarking on their own retrofit journey and has detailed information on the efficiency and cost savings of his improvements.

 Vehicle-To-Everything (V2G/H/X) by Paul Kershaw 

Paul was a OEH host  in 2022 with his home in Oakington. He is passionate about how an EV can be a part of your home energy set-up, potentially making savings on your energy bills. Paul has recently done an energy efficiency retrofit on his home going all-electric; he has participated in a Vehicle-To-Grid trial and is now in a Vehicle-To-Home trial, where his EV provides the power to his home. 

 Warm and Bright by Emily McCarthy 

Emily is a new OEH host for 2023 showcasing her impressive retrofit of a 1930’s terraced house on Cromwell Road, from where she runs her own company McCarthy Architectural Design. She says, ‘Each house retrofit poses a unique challenge. In our house, we tried to strike a balance between improving the space and thermal performance, whilst retaining some existing elements in order to save money and not wasting the embodied energy.’

 Building Physics and Retrofit by Wookey                      

Wookey has retrofitted 2 houses (1930s and 1960s, mostly DIY), and built a Passivhaus-grade extension. He is a highly skilled and knowledgeable about  retrofit and organises the local ‘retrofit club’ in Cambridge. 

 Home Retrofit Planning and Design by James Rixon

James am a retrofit enthusiast, Architect, Retrofit Coordinator and Certified Passivhaus Designer. I run a small practice designing and delivering low energy and retrofit projects. After recently moving to Cambridgeshire, and having been involved in projects similar to CCF in London, he is keen to get involved in helping to improve the efficiency of homes in our communities and sharing his knowledge.

 Air Tightness and Air Quality by Peter Pope

Peter has been an Open Eco Home host previously, after retrofitting his own Victorian home on Fen Road. He has been investing in technology to measure air-tightness and quality in houses, and is now keen to talk to you about how testing the air-tightness of your own home can help to make the right choices in your own projects and lead to a healthier house.

 Old Home Retrofit, some DIY by Tom Bragg

Tom is a CCF Trustee and has been involved with Open Eco Homes and Thermal Imaging since 2010, and has delivered regular talks including Low Cost Home Energy Improvements and Cool Homes in a Heatwave. Both he and his wife Anne are retired engineers, and have been retrofitting their Edwardian terraced house in stages, since 2002 and last shown as an OEH in 2021. With a huge amount of experience and knowledge gained throughout his career and his time with CCF, he brings a wealth of learning and expertise to help you improve your home.


Event details

  • Sat 21st Oct 10:00-16:00

This is an in-person event being held at Let’s Go Circular, First Floor, The Grand Arcade, Cambridge. It is advised to book online, however walk in’s are welcome on the day if we can accommodate, please be aware that you may have to wait.

Book Your Human Book Here

Return to the full programme


Thanks to our 2023 Open Eco Homes funders and supporters


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