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London, Camden, St Augustine’s Road

House Summary

Owners: Charlie Acton- Camden Council
House Type: Victorian six-bed semi-detached
Carbon Saving: 81%
Installed Measures:
  • Double glazed wooden sash windows, argon filled low emissivity glass
  • Solar Water Heating –  roof panels 6m2
  • 3.5kWp Solar PV system
  • Draught proofing
  • Internal wall insulation (100mm)
  • Insulated floor and roof
  • Localised air heat recovery and heat exchange
  • Condensing gas boiler with controls and insulated pipework

Other Camden homes open to the public this September to view: Bertram Street and Belsize Park Gardens

Camden Councils St Augustine's Rd SuperHome
  • Property:

    St Augustine’s Road Eco-House:
    Award-winning retrofit to a large Victorian semi-detached house in a conservation area aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 80% using conventional technologies. Sustainable features include internal wall insulation, double-glazed sash windows, solar thermal and PV systems.

    The property was a mid-victorian semi detached palladian-style house, in a bad state of repair and previously squatted. This award winning retrofit by the London Borough of Camden and its partners demonstrated that it is possible to reduce the CO2 emissions from solid walled Victorian dwellings by 80% using conventional techniques, within conservation area constraints and in a way which respected building heritage. It showed that with a modest amount of expert input, existing building professionals in the UK are able to refurbish 150 year old buildings to achieve high standards of energy efficiency.

    Solid walled dwellings are a major barrier to reducing CO2 emissions in the UK due to their low thermal efficiency and the difficulty of upgrading them. Such houses are the dominant archetype in Camden. In addition, over 50% of Camden is designated as conservation areas, limiting the sort of measures that can be taken to reduce carbon emissions.

    Project Partners
    The works were carried out in 2008 with guidance from London Borough of Camden, University College London, Urbanbuzz, Sustainable Energy Academy, Landers and Associates, Lengard, Kingspan Insulation, Green Homes Concierge, Parity Projects

  • Measures:

    • Internal wall insulation (U=0.3) and greatly improved air tightness (to 6.2 m3/m2hr at 50 Pa), to a standard 20% to 40% better than those required by the building regulations in use at the time of refurbishment.
    • New techniques and details were jointly developed to ensure that the insulation was continuous and air tight in all three dimensions. All joints between insulation panels were taped and where the gaps were wide these were filled with flexible builders foam.
    • High quality of work was ensured by tool-box talks given by University College London to contractors, and regular site inspections and detailed discussions to resolve insulation and sealing issues.


    Performance in Use
    The house is currently tenanted by a three generational family with infants. Room temperatures are warmer than average, in some cases by as much as 3ºC. Despite this, the residents are achieving a 70% reduction in emissions compared to the house at normal temperatures and occupancy prior to refurbishment.

    Lessons Learnt
    • A relatively small degree of additional expertise can make significant reductions in emissions.
    • An understanding of thermal imaging to assess thermal loss and leakage is required to ensure that all detailing and construction is robust.
    • As with any building renovation, variations will be necessary during the works, e.g. strengthening of insulated walls to support basins, cupboards and curtain rails.
    • A good balance between energy conservation and building conservation needs to be achieved.
    • There was some loss of heritage in the refurbishment to the house, for example the cornicing and fireplaces were in a poor condition which would have been difficult and costly to retain or replace.

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