10 Sheepfair

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10 Sheepfair
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Address: 10 Sheepfair, Nevill, Lewes, BN7 1QH
Owners: Ann Link and Richard Hudson
Type: semi-detached
Age: 1950s, refurbished 2009
Beds: 3
Walls: cavity filled with solid wall insulation
Residents: 2 adults

Eco Features

Condensing boiler
Cavity wall insulation
High performance double glazing
Solar PV (1.5 kWp)
Solar thermal
Solid wall Insulation
Woodburning stove with back boiler


Ann and Richard moved to Lewes in 2008 and chose this 1950s house on the edge of the Nevill estate, which was smaller than their previous Victorian terraced house. This was high on the Downs, where it can be windy and cold, and had solid floors, double-glazing, insulated cavity walls, but little other insulation or draught-proofing. The existing bedroom and bathroom in the roof space also made it quite difficult to insulate effectively.

Under the advice of consultants Maria Hawton Mead, and Ken Neal, they embarked on a total refurbishment including super insulation, solar PV and thermal, and a wrap around conservatory to trap heat in winter. Gas use is also extremely low because the bulk of space heating comes from the powerful centralised wood burning stove.

Electricity has also been minimised by using low energy lamps and installing two sunpipes for natural lighting.

The builders, who have long experience of this kind of work, were Chalmers and Co.

The end result has been greatly reduced consumption, which has qualified this house for inclusion as a Superhome, which demonstrates a minimum 60% energy reduction.


1. Insulation of gable wall on outside. Because of not wanting to extend the roof over the gable, the insulation has to be as thin and efficient as possible: this is what has led to the choice of Celotex. The thickness is 90mm.

2. Insulation in loft above first floor rooms; insulation of first floor room eaves and skeilings (sloping ceilings). Celotex polyurethane foam is used on sloping parts and awkward spaces, and Warmcel recycled newspaper loose fill in the loft and where otherwise practicable. The loft hatch will be built up to keep in the Warmcel, and the hatch lid itself will be insulated.

3. We have had to compromise a bit with the slope near the bedroom door, because of losing too much headroom. There is only one 90mm thickness of Celotex instead of two. On the other side, in the wardrobe, we have the full thickness.

4. A layer of insulation on the sides of the dormers (90mm Celotex), and render on the sides. The roof of each dormer has 180mm of Celotex, a breathable membrane, and new roofing felt on top. The appearance has not changed much but looks good.

5. Thick Celotex insulation (180mm) on top of existing extension room flat roof.

6. Removal and replacement of concrete gutters and insulation around blocks left when gutters removed, so as to insulate ground floor ceilings fully.

7. External insulation of walls on ground floor below gutter level (cavities already filled) including walls of extension room.

8. There is even insulation inside the garage because this forms part of an outside wall of the extension room. There will be insulation inside the sunspace on the house external walls, because the sunspace counts as outside.

9. With all this insulation, heat loss could still occur through draughts – we depend on the builders’ attention to detail to ensure gaps are filled. A breathable membrane is used in many places to let vapour (water in the air in the form of a gas) pass through and avoid having a cold impermeable surface where condensation could occur. Ken Neal specified Klobo Perma Forte membrane.

10. Rewiring throughout to replace 1950s wiring. Sufficient switches to enable lights to be turned off independently. We are choosing fittings taking low energy bulbs and generally simple light fittings. Under-cupboard lights in the kitchen are to be LEDs.

11. Enlargement of downstairs loo to accommodate shower.

12. New hearth for fireplace in Welsh slate from Blaenau Ffestiniog: Grey Slate and Stone Supplies 01766 51470001766 514700.

13. Wood-burning stove (Stratford Ecoboiler from Bolney Stoves) in sitting room, with back boiler and a heat store upstairs serving the radiators and also receiving hot water from the solar hot water panel and new gas condensing boiler (as back-up).

14. Renewal of upstairs bathroom with water efficient loo but keeping existing bath and washbasin.

15. Enlargement and refurbishment of kitchen northwards, making study smaller. New French windows into sunspace.
16. Extractor fans in shower room, bathroom and kitchen, one with heat exchange.

17. Rainwater collection system with outside tanks and provision to add to it. The internal piping and header tank in the loft have been done with the Rain Director system recommended by Simon Beach who is doing the stove and plumbing. The two tanks we have so far are ex-juice containers, each 1000 litres in volume.

18. A sunspace (unheated conservatory) around kitchen in locally grown coppiced and finger-jointed sweet chestnut. This will have an insulated tiled concrete floor to act as a heat collector. It will be double glazed, as will house windows looking into it.

19. New windows as needed: east dormer, study, kitchen, extension room, in sweet  chestnut. Existing PVC windows being kept where functioning well. New windows directly onto the outside will be triple glazed.

20. One new window unit (probably triple glazed) to replace cracked one at front of house but other two at front not being changed. We plan insulated Roman blinds.

21. To get daylight into the shower room, we have a 300mm diameter sunpipe. There is also one to light a dark area of the bathroom. A dome on the roof catches the light, and a tube lined with highly polished aluminium reflects it downwards, including around bends.

22. A new front door with an unheated lobby behind and an inner door to conserve heat.

23. New doors into sunspace from kitchen and hallway.

24. We are reusing old doors to rooms where possible.

25. Flooring in a laminated cork with additional 10mm of cork insulation sheet underneath everywhere downstairs except the shower room and sunspace. There is existing parquet in two rooms, and after some consideration, we will be covering this
with cork flooring planks for kitchen, study, hall and extension room: UNICLIC Floating Floor (Colour: Trend).

26. Solar hot water tubes on the garage roof supplying hot water to heat-store in bathroom.

27. Photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate some of our electricity, and export some when we have surplus. Nine panels (at least 170W each) will be mounted on the flat extension roof. These will supply more than 1170 kWh per year. Good Energy will pay us for what we produce, and we keep the savings we make on sunny days.

28. Kitchen designed by Tom Snell, using kitchen carcasses where not visible from reused display materials from Standard 8 exhibition designers and installers. Doors etc in chestnut or oak. Existing 1950s gas cooker. Kitchen surfaces in stainless steel, splashbacks to be in glass. There are some details and updates on a Guardian website: www.guardian.co.uk/environment/series/green-your-home


Cork flooring: Cityfloors: www.corkfloor.co.uk
Eco design: Maria Hawton Mead: www.hawtonmead.co.uk. Ken Neal
Builders: Chalmers and Co., Laughton: www.chalmersandco.co.uk
Solar PV: Solar thermal and backboiler plumbing: Simon Beach, A Greener Alternative, Sheffield Park: www.agreeneralternative.co.uk
Woodburning stove: Bolney Stoves: www.bolneystoves.co.uk


10 Sheepfair
10 Sheepfair