Improving the energy efficiency of a traditional stone house


House made more energy efficient

In 2006 we bought a traditional granite house, built in 1897 (See photo), with the intention to upgrade its thermal efficiency and comfort at the same time as redecorating rooms and fitting an en-suite and new fitted kitchen. To reduce our energy use we have been renewing windows and doors, sealing holes, installing insulation, and putting in new fires and a multi-fuel stove. The attached pdf file BuildingRefurb-SecondEdition-16-01-15 is 77 pages long and includes many drawings and photographs. It describes why such houses are hard to make energy efficient, explains the science behind air leakage, heat and vapour movement and then goes on to describe how tradesmen and I tackled the work. I explain why I chose certain products, what went right and what went wrong, followed by assessments of the final result. The actual energy savings achieved are shown and the improvements costed. To determine the costs, some came from actual invoices, some from Spon’s Architects and Builders price book, 2006, while some are from my own guestimates. Refurbishing old houses like this to improve their thermal efficiency does not come cheap and is not financially viable by normal accounting methods. However, to achieve a comfy house and to reduce our fuel use and carbon footprint, refurbishment must be tackled. It is hoped that some of the ideas to “systematise” the work may both reduce costs and give home owners and tradesmen a steer as to how to proceed. At the end of the report, I make some comments that government should consider if they really are committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the traditional housing sector.

This project is now complete, so a shorter 13 page  “Short Guide to improving the energy efficiency of a traditional stone house” BuildingRefurb-ShortGuide-25-02-15 has been produced, to give residents a steer as to how to go about such refurbishment.

I welcome comments on the publication and the approach I have taken and would hope to incorporate these in future updates of the document.