In April 2019, Waltham Forest Council declared a climate emergency, establishing an independent commission to assess our approach to climate change. We identified housing as one of the borough’s biggest emitters, with domestic buildings contributing around 51% of our total CO2 output.
Our area has a large proportion of older housing stock, so we chose to transform a typical Victorian property to demonstrate how modern retrofitting techniques can boost energy efficiency. This model eco-home has helped the council to understand more about carbon-reducing technology and acted as a show home, enabling landlords and private homeowners to understand what is possible through sustainability measures.
We completely renovated the end-terrace in partnership with Aston Group – one of the council’s existing electrical and mechanical contractors. The upgrades included external and internal wall insulation, under-floor insulation, LED lighting, smart power sockets, high-performance double glazing, smart ventilation bricks, and an air source heat pump and hot water cylinder. The renovation process was a learning journey, providing invaluable information for Waltham Forest council and Aston Group on some of the latest green technologies and how they work together.
Our initial launch event for Greenleaf Road was through Open House London, and we welcomed over 130 residents during our fully booked tour schedule. We got a mixed crowd – all at very different stages in their energy efficiency journeys – but the reception was overwhelmingly positive. Since then, we’ve invited council departments, MPs, Cllrs, private landlords, housing associations, local colleges and other members of our community to explore the home.
While we don’t expect residents will implement all of the energy-efficient upgrades visible at the house, we do believe it will inspire them to consider some sustainable improvements in their properties. Promoting the show home is also helping us to champion and support the local retrofitting industry – increasing demand from homeowners and encouraging local businesses to invest in new technology and construction techniques.
The work we carried out on Greenleaf Road is estimated to reduce the building’s energy usage from 17,219 kWh to 7,461 kWh per year, with the energy rating going from E to A. Energy bills are set to reduce from £1,580 to £435 annually. The changes have also contributed to a warmer, healthier, and more efficient home for the families who live in the property in the future.
Don’t be afraid to experiment – As a local authority it’s vital to spend money wisely, but at the same time it’s important to be open to new ideas and to invest smartly in new ways to tackle carbon emissions.
Get prepared – In the future, legislation will likely require local authorities, housing associations, and private landlords to make energy-efficient investments in housing stock, so it’s important to understand the available technology as early as possible.
Invest with purpose – The house is a fantastic learning tool and talking point, but ultimately, it will be a warm, efficient, and economical home for a tenant. It’s an investment in our community and our future.
- Reduction in carbon emissions and energy usage.
- Reduction in energy bills.
- Number of visitors and amount of local interest.