Converting a Victorian House into a Bright Green Home


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Most Victorian terraces are known for being cold, draughty and expensive to heat, and as reducing the pollution generated by our homes becomes an increasing priority, these buildings are at serious risk.

With that in mind, Greentomato have set about improving the energy efficiency of this Victorian property in London. Their six month plan includes a loft conversion, super-insulating, triple-glazed windows, a green roof, rainwater harvesting, and some ‘major engineering works’, as well as making the building completely airtight.

Think that sounds a lot more than your average home improvement? Then you would be right. This epic conversion is a result of Greentomato’s goal to turn this property into a PassivHaus, an environmental standard which is difficult to achieve in a new build, let alone an historic property like this.

A PassivHaus uses less than 15kWh of energy to heat it per square metre per year, compared to a British average of 130kWh, which definitely applies to an old building like this. Once converted, the building will be home to Tom and Sophie Pakenham, who are both working on the project, and their baby Luke. They believe that:

Low-energy houses are not only much more comfortable living spaces than the old clunkers we live in now, but they also don’t have to look like a nuclear bunker.

Tom, Sophie, and the Greentomato team are hoping this build will show that the amount of work and cost involved in a PassivHaus conversion ‘is not all that much more than a normal whole-house renovation’, and other property owners will be inspired to improve the energy efficiency of their heritage homes.