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Garston home gets eco overhaul as part of ambitious zero carbon programme

Published: 19 May 2022

A South Liverpool Homes (SLH) house in Garston has been among the first of our 3,800 homes to benefit from a full eco-retrofit to help it become greener, warmer and more efficient for the tenant.  

The home is part of a pilot programme, designed to assess the effectiveness of a range of environmentally-friendly measures before they are rolled out across all our homes in the years and decades to come.  

The 1920s terraced home was chosen because it has a poor energy-efficiency rating, due to its traditional solid-wall construction, making it an ideal testbed to demonstrate the effectiveness of a range of cutting-edge technologies.  

Watch SLH Environmental Officer James Fay take you on a tour of the home

On the outside, the home blends seamlessly into the street but stepping inside reveals a long list of upgrades. The home was fitted with underfloor insulation, loft insulation and exterior wall insulation to help retain as much heat as possible from the air source heat pump central heating system.  

How the air source heat pump works 

 

 

The central heating system works like a refrigerator but in reverse. 

  1. Outside air is blown over a network of tubes filled with a refrigerant. This warms up the refrigerant, and it turns from a liquid into a gas. 
  2. This gas passes through a compressor, which increases the pressure. Compression also adds more heat – similar to how the air hose warms up when you top up the air pressure in your tyres. 
  3. The compressed, hot gases pass into a heat exchanger, surrounded by cool air or water. The refrigerant transfers its heat to this cool air or water, making it warm. And this is circulated around your home to provide heating and hot water. Meanwhile, the refrigerant condenses back into a cool liquid and starts the cycle all over again. (Source: EDF Energy)

PV Panels 

PV (solar) panels on the roof of the home are the only visible sign from the street and help to lower the carbon footprint of the home further. These draw power from the sun’s rays and convert it into green electricity, which is either used in the home or fed back into the grid, helping to reduce the home’s energy bills. 

Gas-free 

The combination of an air source heat pump and PV panels means that the home runs purely on electricity, the beginning of a move away from reliance on fossil fuels for heating, hot water and cooking. 

Finally, the home has been retrofitted with high-performance doors and windows to help keep all that precious heat inside. The net result? The home has moved from an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘D’ to ‘B’. 

Smart metering and monitoring 

To understand the benefits of these changes, the home is fitted with a smart meter and monitoring equipment, enabling both the tenant and SLH to monitor the efficiency of the home and help inform the rollout of retrofit projects on similar homes.  

But where does this fit into the bigger picture of SLH’s zero-carbon plans? 

The home is one of the first steps on the road to 2050, when SLH aims for homes to be as efficient as possible, reaping the benefits of low CO2 emissions and lower fuel costs for tenants. On the way to 2050 is a range of milestones, put in place to help us gradually improve the EPC rating of our existing homes.   

The next steps in the pilot programme will be to repeat the exercise in other home types in our housing stock, enabling us to gather data on the best set interventions for each home type, after which a phased retrofit rollout can be planned and implemented as part of our climate change strategy.  

“We’re really excited about embarking on our journey to 2050”, said Executive Director of Assets and Development, Angela Perry.  

“From this one home in Garston, we are already getting great insights into what works well in similar homes across our stock. More importantly, the tenant and her family are already benefitting from a warm and efficient home, at a time when the cost of heating our homes is a big concern for everyone. 

“This isn’t just about planning for a greener tomorrow. It’s about helping our customers manage their energy bills now.” 

We spoke to the tenant Rachel, who has been in the house since February with her family. “It’s perfect, I love it. It’s just really cosy. I hardly have to put the heating on. It just stays warm.  

“I haven’t got a gas bill whatsoever and the electricity bill is not bad at all. The solar panels really help with that because they keep the water hot. I feel like I’m helping the environment too and that’s great.”

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