Since 2020 Open Eco Homes has been running online tours, resulting in some fantastic video tours you can access year round. Learn about Adrian and Judy’s prefabricated home that took only 3 days to build, tour Bart and Rose’s whole house retrofit built to Passivhaus standard, discover James and Hannah’s home which has eliminated gas and now has greater energy efficiency, and many more. Use the index below to find a specific tour, or browse the full list of tours on this page.

To view our more general, expert-led talks, on topics including ventilation, insulation, heat pumps and more, head to our YouTube Channel.


Orchard Cottage: A Near Passive New-build in Whittlesford

Join Nik and Sally for an online, on demand video tour of their stylish and energy efficient new build home in Whittlesford. Find out how and why they tore down their 1950’s bungalow to build their beautiful near passivhaus standard home.  

Key Features of this home:

  • Insulated clay block construction
  • Triple and quadruple glazing
  • Solar PV used dynamically to heat hot water tank
  • Mechanical ventilation & heat recovery (MVHR) system
  • No heating installed – maybe a wood stove for next winter
  • Bamboo flooring
  • Cool pantry
  • Rainwater storage and shower waste heat recovery system
  • Solar shading from eaves and integral Venetian blinds in windows

Meet your hosts, Nik and Sally

Nik and Sally bought their plot of land in Whittlesford in 2012, and with it an ageing 1950s bungalow. They considered renovating, but the limitations of the old house with its ageing materials, inefficient use of space and unknown structural characteristics made it difficult. Instead, they started afresh, completing their near Passivhaus standard new build in 2021.

Nik says: “Given that we were going to be doing major works, it seemed obvious to build our new house to be as low-energy as possible.”


Deep Green Retrofit: 17th Century Suffolk Timber Framed House

Ralph and Jenny showcase this outstanding example of how a 16C period property can meet all the needs of our 21C life.

Key Features of this home:

  • Retrofit of walls with partial replacement of old insulation and 150mm additional insulation
  • Retrofit of roof with additional insulation of 80mm wood fibre board
  • Plinths insulated with 120mm Foamglas & finished with lime render
  • New triple glazed windows and doors throughout
  • LED lights and low energy appliances
  • Solar PV and home made solar water heater for one cylinder
  • Rainwater harvesting supplying 3 wcs and washing machine plus some garden irrigation
  • Extensive use of materials with low embodied emissions, e.g. sheeps wool, wood fibre board, lime render; re-used pantiles, zinc roof 

Meet your host, Ralph: In 1984 Ralph and Jenny bought their 1600 timber-frame house in the beautiful Suffolk village of Hartest, very quickly getting to work pulling off the Victorian brick cladding, and building a modern extension for cooking and washing. In 1999 they expanded further, building a hempcrete extension, becoming early UK pioneers of this technique. For Ralph, an architect, co-authoring the LETI Climate Emergency Retrofit Guide Opens in a new windowprodded him to consider what else he could do. So he began planning a deep green retrofit of the main 17th century home, with improved insulation, flooring and glazing throughout. The retrofit will be completed in 2022.

Lots of interesting detail on how Ralph designed and implemented this beautiful high-performance retrofit.

Ralph says: “It’s important to have a home which is healthy and beautiful, and feels fresh, yet has stable temperatures and remains well connected to the outside. The renovations have resulted in a massive boost to our mental well being! We now enjoy far higher levels of comfort and lower running costs.”

This was a really informative, inspiring online tour, with Ralph


Our Flexible 1960s Home: Retrofitting for the Electric Age – Oakington

After a life-changing accident at work, Paul’s home needed to work for both him and his elderly mother in terms of accessibility and comfort, so Paul seized the opportunity to futureproof his home by retrofitting it with a host of smart electric features.

Key Features of this home:

  • Air source heat pump with Mixergy water cylinder
  • 4.76kW solar PV
  • Demand Control Ventilation
  • Icynene sprayfoam pitched roof insulation
  • Cork block and wood fibre wall insulation 
  • Adaptive LED lighting, with Lightwave switches, that match the body’s circadian rhythms
  • Green roof for water management
  • Cork flooring

Meet your host, Paul

When Paul moved back into the family home following an accident at work, it spurred him and his mother to retrofit their home to future-proof it for the benefit both of their health and the environment. They made lots of lifestyle friendly changes, widening doorways, installing grab rails and easy clean fixtures and fittings, and improved thermal comfort and energy efficiency by increasing insulation and controlled ventilation. Paul also incorporated many smart electric features, installing solar PV, an air source heat pump, automated smart lights and an electric vehicle.

Paul says: “One of the main intentions of this renovation is to make living in the house easier, enabling us to live here longer. I moved back into the parental home in October 2016 due to becoming disabled, with the idea that by living with my mother we could hopefully look after each other, rather than struggle separately.  As a family, we have always been environmentally minded, and I think it was this factor that helped my mother to get on board with the proposed changes to our house, that she was not particularly in favour of originally, to now being very excited about it.”

This was a an engaging, informative online tour.


  • Case Study with links to items and professionals Paul used
  • Slides from the talk as a PDF, with working links
  • View the Events page

Our Zero Carbon Phased 1905 Retrofit – Cambridge

Martin’s 4-stage retrofit plan has not only resulted in his home’s reduced carbon footprint but running and maintenance costs are lower just in time for the increased energy prices.

Key features of this home:

  • Underfloor insulation on ground floor
  • External wall insulation and some internal wall insulation
  • Vacuum double glazing on original refurbished sash windows
  • Tricoya cladding to window frames and barge boards
  • Undersink water heater in kitchen
  • 1.44kW solar PV
  • Raised beds for fruit and vegetables and eight water butts

Meet your host, Martin: Martin had three aims in retrofitting his 1905 home: he wanted to improve comfort, reduce energy use, and lower his carbon emissions. Commissioning Ecofurb Opens in a new windowto carry out a whole house survey helped Martin to envisage the changes he wanted to make, and gave him a 4 stage plan to achieve them. Since then Martin has worked on his retrofit step by step, starting each new stage as time, energy and money allowed. 

Martin says: “The improvements have greatly increased comfort, carbon savings and, with increasing energy costs, are likely to prove a good financial investment. They also reduce on-going maintenance – painting, repair etc. When eventually selling the house, the new buyer will not need major refurbishment requiring weeks/months when the house could not be occupied.”

This was a an engaging, informative online tour.


Towards Decarbonisation: A Home Living Lab – Ely

A 20-year project has resulted in Peter’s home becoming gas-free as he installed a zero emissions electric boiler (ZEB) to heat his home and his solar thermal panels provide 6 months of his hot water use.

Key features of this home:

  • Solar thermal and three solar PV arrays (5.8kW/p) connected to a large 15kW battery storage system
  • Tepeo Zero Emissions electric Boiler (ZEB) connected to wet radiator system
  • Two EV charging units, one with vehicle to home and vehicle to grid capability
  • Replaced 30 year old double glazing windows with new ones in 2022
  • Low energy lighting
  • Tado smart thermostat valves for radiators

Meet your host, Peter: A professed “early adopter”, Peter has been experimenting with the latest low carbon technologies for nearly 20 years, turning his 1975 semi-detached home into a living laboratory. The solar thermal panels Peter installed in 2003 means he can go nearly six months without needing to heat his hot water. And the new zero emission electric boiler installed this year means that Peter has been able to get his home totally off gas, a major milestone on his journey to decarbonisation.

Peter says: “In mid April 2022, the 30+ year old gas boiler was replaced with a Tepeo Zero Emissions electric Boiler (ZEB) that is connected to the existing wet radiator system. It utilises the cheapest low carbon available electricity to heat the system and store the heat until it is required, it is then distributed around the existing radiator system throughout the house.… My main focus now is on the optimisation, interoperability and integration of the building services.”

Peter gave a really useful, detailed tour of his home online, featuring lots of innovative Technology


How We Let the Sunshine Into Our Home – Melbourn

When planning their new-build home, Mary and Trevor aimed to harness the sunshine in Melbourn to provide the energy and warmth that makes their home so passive and comfortable.

Key features of this home:

  • Highly airtight (close to Passivhaus standard)
  • High levels of kingspan insulation throughout 
  • PV panels and battery storage
  • Air source heat pump
  • Zoned underfloor heating
  • Mechanical ventilation & heat recovery (MVHR) system
  • Velux opening skylights, electrically controlled
  • Triple-glazed Internorm windows & skylight
  • RAKO smart lighting system

Meet your hosts, Trevor and Mary: When Trevor and Mary briefed their architects in 2016 they were busy professionals looking to build a flexible and adaptable home that they’d be able to enjoy living in for years to come. In September 2020 they achieved it, after much flexibility on their part, as they adapted their plans in response to planning constraints and delays due to Covid-19 and supply chain issues. Together with their architect, they’ve created a beautiful home, with well-proportioned living spaces, and a wealth of energy saving features. They love their new home, finding it incredibly comfortable and a great space for entertaining and hosting guests.

Trevor says: “We thought that if we were going to build a new home it must be made from the most modern and thermally efficient materials possible. The extra cost of upgrading insulation and paying attention to thermal bridges will save considerable amounts of energy in the future.”

Trevor is really informative, useful for anyone planning a new-build with all the choices that involves.



Carbon Positive Family Home

After living in a low carbon narrowboat for 20 years, Andy and family decided the time was right to build their own eco home. Andy invites you to an online tour of their detached 2020 home which exports considerably more energy than it uses.

Key features of this home:

  • Airtight property plus mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery system (MVHR).
  • Structural insulated panelled walls with a U value of 0.11.
  • 15kW solar PV supplying more energy than used in the property.
  • Sunamp heat store.
  • Rainwater harvesting tank supplying toilet cisterns, washing machine and garden tap.
  • Green roof.

Meet your host, Andy: Andy spent 20 years living on a narrowboat (featured as an Open Eco Home in 2013). Once children, Ailsa (now 6) and then Teal (4), came along the narrowboat became a bit cramped and Andy and Kate made the decision to find somewhere bigger. As they didn’t feel like moving into a conventional house after living on the boat they decided to build their own. They completed the home in 2020 and it is now largely net carbon positive to run as it exports considerably more energy than it uses.

This free online tour of Andy’s home is a great opportunity to learn from his experience of building an eco home.

Andy says: “Our top tip is to do what you can! Firstly, get the fabric as high spec as you can so you use as little energy as possible – good glazing, insulation wherever possible. And keep it airtight to avoid ventilation losses.”

This is an inspiring online tour of Andy’s home showcasing what can be achieved when building new attended by 33 participants.


F-rated home to near Passivhaus Standard

Rachel and Jake’s 1960s chalet bungalow retrofit is due to be completed in 2021. View the online tour of this largely DIY whole-house retrofit, bringing the home up to (as near as possible) Passivhaus standard.

Key features of this home:

  • Triple glazing, well insulated throughout including cavity walls with U value of 0.8.
  • 5kW air source heat pump.
  • Underfloor heating.
  • Joule Cylinder for hot water.
  • Airtight membrane alongside mechanical ventilation with heat recovery system (MVHR).
  • 5.1kW solar PV.

Meet your hosts, Rachel and Jake: Rachel and Jake decided to undertake a whole house retrofit of their 1960s EPC F-rated home in October 2020. Before they began the work they had some level of understanding of Passivhaus standards. Both of their backgrounds involved working for construction companies so they were well-placed to do much of the work themselves. This is a very recent retrofit as the work is on schedule to be completed this year, so it is a great opportunity to hear about their fresh experience of this largely DIY whole-house retrofit.

Rachel says: “We knew money would be tight and hoped we could earn the money as we went, saving through DIY or with help from family and friends. Jake has been able to do a great deal of the build himself, including hand cutting the roof, for the first time ever!”

55 participants attended this breath-taking online tour by Rachel and Jake, who have achieved so much in their thorough retrofit, with beautiful results.


  • Read the detailed Case Study of this home.
  • Access the Slides from this event.
  • View the Event Page.
  • Read Rachel and Jake’s personal Blog of their experience.

Low-cost retrofit of ex-council 1950s family home

Suzie and Iain moved into their 1950s semi-detached ex-council home in 2006 and have been retrofitting their home in stages ever since. They have now reduced their energy bills by 60%. Watch this online tour to find out how they have achieved this.

Key features of this home:

  • Solar thermal hot water
  • Highly insulated Akvaterm hot water tank
  • Solar PV
  • Cavity wall and loft insulation
  • Compost toilet
  • 5 water butts for the garden and lowest flush toilets available
  • Green roofs on garden sheds
  • 9kW wood-burning stove

Meet your hosts, Suzie and Iain: Suzie and Iain moved into their 1950s semi-detached home in 2006 and spent over 13 years retrofitting it in stages. 

Alongside eco-measures such as solar thermal, solar PV and insulation, they are also keen to make lifestyle changes such as not flying for leisure and using renewable energy providers. Their retrofit includes a few creative additions including insulating the bath to enable longer hot baths and green roofs on the garden sheds. 

Since the retrofit, they have reduced their home energy use by 60% (68% less than the national average) and expect to produce more electricity from the solar PV than they use.

Suzie says: “Now our utility bills are only £40 a month, yet our home is warm and snug, with a close connection between the house, garden and seasons.”

20 participants attended this fascinating talk on the low-cost creative interventions you can take in your home. Watch this tour to hear about how Suzie and Ian have found living in this 1950s semi-detached retrofitted eco home.


Edwardian Terrace Phased Retrofit

Tom and Anne have been retrofitting their house in stages over the last 20 years. Watch their online tour to hear what they have learnt and how they have reduced their energy carbon emissions by 71% since 2001.

Key features of this home:

  • Solid wall, loft and under-floor insulation
  • Air-to-air heat pump
  • Passive cooling and awnings
  • Improvements to air tightness
  • Low embodied carbon materials: Reclaimed and restored pine flooring and marmoleum (eco-lino) in kitchen.

This was a fascinating online tour of Tom and Anne’s home detailing some really creative and well-thought through ways they have improved their home. Their tour was attended by 36 people.

Meet your hosts, Tom and Anne: Tom and Anne moved into their Edwardian terrace home in 2001 and have been retrofitting their home in stages ever since.

Starting with quick-win DIY improvements, like draught-proofing, secondary glazing and installing insulation in the loft, once these were done they moved on to larger features. Since 2001, their home-energy carbon emissions have been cut by 72%, with recent improvements expected to reduce losses from the kitchen by 67%. 

By retrofitting in stages and making the most of opportunities they have been able to mostly stay in the house during the project as only some rooms are disrupted at a time.

Tom says: “Consider taking any opportunity for eco improvements – we regretted missing the chance for internal wall insulation when reworking our kitchen/dinner/sitting room in 2004. Now finally corrected!”

Watch this tour to hear what they have learnt during this time and their experience of living in an eco home.


Learning from Passivhaus Living

Bea’s detached Passivhaus standard home was completed in 2015. Now that Bea has been living in the home for a number of years, she shares her experience of Passivhaus living in this tour.

Key features of this home:

  • Rainwater harvesting for toilets and garden.
  • Warmcel (made from recycled newspapers) and Earthwool (formaldehyde-free) insulation.
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat retention system (MVHR).
  • Solar gain.
  • Solar shading via external venetian blinds.

Bea’s insightful and well-presented tour is a great opportunity to hear from someone who built their own certified Passivhaus home and has real experience of what it is like to live in. Her tour was attended by 18 participants.

Meet your host, Bea: Bea first showed this home as part of 2015’s Open Eco Homes when the property had been newly built. Now that she has lived in this home for six years, Bea will be sharing what she has learnt during this time as well as outlining how things have changed in the eco home field since the build was completed.

Bea says: “When we first investigated the Passivhaus concept, we weren’t sure whether it would feel claustrophobic to live in a near-airtight building. This is not at all the case; each room has at least one window that can be opened, and during summer we open them all the time.”


A whole house approach to a 1960s retrofit

Shaun hosts a tour of the whole house retrofit of his 1960s property. Hear about his experience of a retrofit which began by completely gutting the building to tackle everything all at once.

Key features of this home:

  • 4.5kW solar PV
  • Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery System (MVHR)
  • Mostly solid foil covered foam insulation
  • Heating zones and room thermostats
  • Heat store and solar panel in garden
  • Solar hot water
  • Inter-glazed blinds to reduce solar gain.

Watch Shaun’s inspiring tour – a great opportunity to hear about Shaun’s experience of a complete retrofit and the pros and cons of retrofitting the entire house in one go. See video and slides of his tour below. This tour was attended by 37 people.

Meet your host, Shaun: Shaun believes that home is somewhere that should be a healthy place to be and make people feel safe and comfortable. He bought the house in 2011 and decided to take a whole house approach, completely gutting the building to tackle everything together. He has added in many eco measures to his home, some relatively standard measures alongside some more creative ones (such as solar PV in the garden powering the garden tools).

Shaun says “Our retrofit has made a huge difference to our overall standard of living: reducing pollen, dust and the frequency of cleaning; completely eliminating mould; almost no car and hot water running cost; heating only 4 months a year; no energy cost from home working; and the house is perfect for drying wet clothes indoors (no tumble dryer needed). I could go on…”


Eco-redevelopment of City Centre Church

Margaret is hosting an online tour of a recently completed church and halls eco-redevelopment in Cambridge. The buildings now have solar panels, secondary glazing for the stained-glass windows, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery in the smaller rooms and more.

Key features of this church:

  • Ceiling, roof and internal wall insulation.
  • Double glazing with secondary glazing on stained-glass windows.
  • External solar screens on rooflights.
  • MVHR to smaller rooms.
  • 5kW solar PV.
  • Rainwater harvesting for garden.
  • Low-embodied carbon materials: Lime plaster, reused timbers in roof, reused wood parquet floor, Warmcel insulation

Meet your host, Margaret: Margaret hosts an online tour of Downing Place United Reformed Church (URC) this autumn. Built in 1891, the eco-redevelopment of Downing Place Church was completed earlier this year as a result of a merge of two churches in Cambridge.

The church and halls now have a range of eco-features including solar panels, secondary glazing for the stained-glass windows, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery in the smaller rooms and more. This is is a rare and exciting opportunity to tour one of only a few eco-redevelopments of a church in the UK.

Margaret says: “As a result of this project, ‘sustainability’ has now been welcomed by the congregation – the contractor is now also interested in further eco-retrofit training. We are seeing changes to lifestyles and greater eco-awareness of the whole congregation and wider public as a result of the work.” 


DIY 1960s EnerPHit retrofit: CB1

Wookey bought this 1960s home in 2007 and has been working on the retrofit since then. By taking the time to research and raise funds, he has been able to install many eco measures himself. Watch this online tour to hear more about Wookey’s experience of retrofitting in stages.

Key features of this home:

  • Insulation (including loft and underfloor as well as internal, external and cavity wall).
  • Triple glazing throughout.
  • Solar thermal.
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR).
  • 2.9kW solar PV.
  • Underfloor heating.
  • Woodburner.
  • 6x 1200L water butts.

Meet your host, Wookey: Wookey began work on this retrofit in 2007. He has been undertaking the retrofit in stages and aims to have everything complete by 2025. By retrofitting in stages, Wookey has been able to reduce costs, research the different eco-measures and complete much of the work himself.

The original aim for the renovation was to upgrade the house to The Association for Environment Conscious Building’s (AECB) CarbonLite Opens standards. However, they have now upgraded their ambition to reach EnerPHit certification (quality-approved energy retrofit with Passivhaus components).

Wookey says: “To prepare for the renovations I did a lot of research. This enabled me to do a lot of the work myself and minimise the cost of contractors.”

This tour is a great opportunity to hear from Wookey about the pros and cons of a longer-term DIY retrofit undertaken in stages.



House built in 3 days

This striking new-build was prefabricated in Baufritz’ factory in Germany and erected by them in 3 days onto prepared groundworks. Personal and planetary health have been prioritised in this carbon positive house.

Key features of this home:

  • External and internal insulation throughout: Triple-glazed windows, wood fibre insulation in walls, roof and underfloor insulation.
  • Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR).
  • Solar Cache hot water heating.
  • The house is carbon positive: the frame and most of the walls are made of timber, including the larch cladding, therefore locking up the carbon absorbed during tree growth.

In this free online tour you’ll learn about how this new-build was designed to be a spacious family home with quality craftsmanship and materials present throughout, and sustainability at the core of its design.

This striking new-build was prefabricated in Baufritz’ factory in Germany and erected by them in 3 days onto prepared groundworks. Hosts Adrian and Judy placed a strong emphasis on personal and planetary health during the material choice, consciously choosing to avoid use of MDF, PVC and paints containing toxins which can affect indoor air quality.

The future sustainability of the house has been well thought out, as the house is recyclable if demolished, or it can be dismantled, moved and re-erected elsewhere. 

43 participants joined Adrian and Judy’s online tour.


Victorian Home with 21st Century Insulation

This Victorian family home was freezing in winter and overly hot in summer. However, after this renovation it is now a more comfortable home with greater light, lower heating bills, and a carbon reduction.

Key features of this home:

  • High levels of insulation throughout: external front and rear walls, roof and internal ground floor, and triple-glazed windows.
  • Under-floor heating.
  • Ideal Logic+ H18 condensing gas boiler.
  • Sunpower 4kW PV array: provides electricity for home, export or water-heating.
  • Solar iBoost controller diverts excess solar PV energy to immersion heater in water tank.
  • Honeywell Evohome wireless heating controls.
  • Extensive reused and recycled materials: roof-tiles, plumbing fittings, floor boards.

Watch this free online tour to learn about the ways in which a Victorian house can be transformed from a draughty building inefficiently leaking heat, to a warm and comfortable home.

After purchasing the house in 2005, hosts Samin and Zoe and their two children found it to be freezing in winter and overly hot in summer. Following visits to OEH and Superhomes events, Samin and Zoe engaged AC Architects to realise their vision for an energy efficient home. The renovation resulted in a more comfortable home with greater light and lower heating bills, as well as enhanced living space in parts of the house that were previously underused due to draughts. The wood stove is no longer the main heating source, as the solar panels meet the electricity demand from the house first, then heat the water, then feed into the grid. This is a home which has experienced improved warmth and a carbon reduction, and no longer inefficiently leaks heat out of an uninsulated roof, walls and windows. 

24 participants joined Zoe and Samin’s tour.


Carbon-Neutral Studio Flat

This renovation project is the transformation of a self-built barn into a carbon-neutral studio flat. The flat has been designed to be extremely effective at energy conservation, to create a warm and comfortable home.

Key features of this home:

  • External insulation on timber frame, with double and triple glazing. 
  • Carbon-neutral due to around 3kW of PV. 
  • Air source heat-pump serving radiators and domestic hot water. 
  • Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR) system. 
  • Rainwater and ground water harvesting. 
  • Material such as roof tiles, cladding and kitchen are reclaimed and repurposed. 

In this free interactive online tour you’ll learn about the processes and level of detail required when planning a carbon-neutral home, and the lessons learnt by the host during his experience of building energy efficiency buildings.

Host Ian is a retired architect and has built energy efficient buildings since 1980. This renovation project is currently being undertaken, and involves transforming a self-built barn on Ian’s land into a carbon-neutral studio flat. The flat has been designed to be extremely effective at energy conservation through insulation and temperature regulating mechanisms such as MVHR. Once completed, this should be a warm and comfortable home, finished to a high standard due to the level of detail in the planning process. 

22 people joined Ian’s virtual tour.


More Space, Less Energy

This 1940s semi-detached house has been retrofitted and extended to create a sustainable home with a significantly reduced CO2 footprint. Through energy efficiency improvements, this home now maintains an even temperature.

Key features of this home:

  • Single storey extension built to Passivhaus standards.
  • Super-insulated screed floors with wet underfloor heating (UFH) throughout.
  • External Wall Insulation (EWI) on rear and side of existing house with front facade pending – mostly 200mm thick.
  • Solar PV panels (2.88 kWp) with diverter for heat store immersion element to supply domestic hot water.
  • Modern condensing boiler feeding 2-zone low-temperature heating circuit with weather compensation controller.

In this free online tour you’ll learn about the retrofitting techniques that have enabled a significant reduction in the energy required to heat this home, as well as the lessons learned by the hosts throughout the extension and renovation process.

Hosts Bart and Rose have transformed this 1940s semi-detached house into an extended, sustainable home with a CO2 footprint around 60%, or 1.5 tonnes, lower than that of the original building. This largely DIY retrofit project was achieved through a detailed scientific approach, with a focus on significantly improving the home’s energy efficiency. The improvements to the house include an extension in line with Passivhaus standards, super-insulated floors, walls and roof, as well as a state of the art weather compensation boiler, and a PV array. The result of these features is a home which maintains an even temperature throughout, benefitting from significant draught reduction and the ability to remain cool in summer. 

19 participants joined Bart’s online tour. 


Country in the City

This beautiful, low energy house reflects the hosts’ wish to reduce their environmental impact through living in a more sustainable home, constructed primarily using natural materials.

Key features of this home:

  • Ground source heat pump.
  • Whole house mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MVHR). 
  • Rainwater harvesting for toilets, clothes-washing, garden.
  • Thermal mass – clay brick internal walls – to steady the internal temperature.
  • Natural light – full-length windows and doors and mirrored roof windows.
  • South-facing for passive solar gain.

In this free online tour you’ll learn about the hosts’ experiences of living in this home for the past decade, benefiting from its features including the great deal of natural light, as well as its temperature regulating ability, and energy and water use efficiency.

This beautiful, low energy house was completed in 2010, following hosts Ian and Sue’s wish to reduce their environmental impact through living in a more sustainable home. After looking for land elsewhere, they decided to build in their own back garden, seeing this as an opportunity to make a step-change. The construction of this home utilised natural materials to a large extent, as living in harmony with the natural world is very important to them. The house was designed to create a sense of connection to the garden, through the sedum roof and views of the wildlife-friendly garden which boasts a wildflower meadow and pond. 

17 people joined Ian’s tour.


Mark Brinkley's Self-Build

In this tour, Mark shows his and Mandy’s inspiring self-built home, in which their choices were constrained by budget and a narrow site, making up for a challenging design, which has resulted in a beautiful, low energy, award-winning home.

Key features of this home:

  • Structural insulated panels (SIPs) for an exact, well-insulated build
  • Triple glazing with low G glass to avoid summer overheating
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) for filtered, warm fresh air
  • 2 kW PV system with iBoost to switch any excess electricity to hot water heating
  • Low Energy Building Standard –  “Passivhaus-lite”
  • Louvered cedar wall cladding and beautiful carpentry.

In this online tour you’ll learn lots about the choices and practicalities of a modern, sustainable self-build home.

Mark shows his and Mandy’s inspiring home, which is his third self-build.
Their choices were constrained by their budget and a narrow site, making for a challenging design for the team, including Mole Architects. The result is a beautiful, individual, low-energy home.

Housebuilder’s Bible (now in 13th edn!) is Mark Brinkley’s best-selling building guide.

This tour was run in partnership with RIBA East, the Royal Institute of British Architects, East.

Mark’s online tour attracted 70 participants.


Victorian Terrace Getting off Gas

The recent retrofit of this Victorian terrace involved transforming the property into a renewable-powered, low energy home which has eliminated gas usage, and experiences greater energy efficiency.

Key features of this home:

  • Internal and external insulation to front and back respectively, and external blinds.
  • PassivHaus standard windows (sash and roof lights) and external doors.
  • Air source heat pump (NIBE).
  • Mechanical ventilation (Aereco demand controlled, not heat recovery).

In this free online tour you’ll learn about the opportunities and challenges of extending and retrofitting a small historic terraced house. 

This recent retrofit and extension of a Victorian terrace involved transforming the property into a renewable-powered, low energy home which will remain cool in summer. The eco-renovation prioritised adding a third bedroom and eliminating gas usage. Hosts James and Hannah extensively researched into their options for achieving these goals, and engaged local architect Margaret Reynolds for the project design. Retrofitting this home has resulted in greater energy efficiency through improved air tightness, and an enlarged living space with the attic extension.

27 Participants joined James and Hannah in this tour, in which Margaret Reynolds, the architect, described challenges, including the struggle for planning permission to allow raising the roof level in a way not visible from the street. And Tim Acheson of Green Hat Construction, the builders, gave his perspective on the project.