The Camden eco house.

Video: watch the above to learn some of what has been done to one house by SEA to make it more energy efficient.

The Borough of Camden in London, UK has recently opened a Victorian property after making improvements to energy efficiency. Also known as the Camden Centre for low energy refurbishment, it may still be open for tours but this I can’t  be verified. Details here.

The environmental charity  Sustainable Energy Academy  (SEA) help convert a number of homes throughout the UK. Utilizing various technologies, these can transform a home – cutting energy use, saving money on fuel bills and reducing carbon footprint.

It is believed changes made to the Camden house, which was built around 1850, could cut carbon emissions by up to 80 per cent.

Improvements to the property include:

  • Floor, roof and internal wall insulation;
  • Windows that are 20% better at retaining heat than current regulations for new buildings;
  • Solar panels to generate heat and electricity;
  • Local heat recovery ventilation to warm incoming fresh air; and
  • Rainwater harvesting for use in the garden.

Let’s remember that many of the answers for more energy efficiency are not at all cheap. Also some options are quite invasive in the sense that they can reduce your living space; such as adding insulation to the inside of your external walls (see video above). Getting the best costs money!

See more about who is behind SEA here.

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2 Responses to The Camden eco house.

  1. the Grit says:

    Amazingly enough, we couldn’t allow many of those upgrades to the front part of our house, which was built in 1841, because of historic preservation laws. Most homes from that period were destroyed during the Civil War, so the ones that are left are special. We can do anything we want to the back part which is much newer and added before anyone cared about such things, but to alter the old part we would have to hire a Government approved historian and an architect with experience dealing with historic homes and a lawyer to handle all the paperwork needed to make any significant alterations. On the other hand, our historic landmark status is all that kept a new highway proposed for the area from running through our farm. Fortunately, we don’t need the old part except for parties, and couldn’t afford to modernize it if we wanted to, so it works out pretty well.

    Oh, and the only heat in the old house is from fireplaces, and we grow our own firewood, so our carbon footprint is lower than Al Gore’s. Oh, oh, and since that part of the structure was built when this area was mostly wilderness, every part of the construction, except the nails and door hinges, was done with materials harvested from the surrounding land. Those people made their own bricks and sawed their own boards and made their own glass. I’m still impressed every time I think about it.

    the Grit

  2. matt says:

    It is impressive but of course tradesmen skills have gone out the window thanks to machining and the resulting mass production of everything.

    The video above deals with a house in a conservation area here in the UK. As the lady says, they were allowed to attach insulation on the inside but this not only lost them space but also cornicing features, which they could afford to re-instate.

    This insulation game for older homes is expensive. Same lady goes on to talk about their floor boards being taken up so insulation could be installed. She stopped at their beautiful tiled floor being ripped up though. Everyone has their limit. For most people it’s their wallet. 🙂

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