Putting a Modern twist on a 200 Year old house! Hanley Green Grant

Green Grant 2022 – Craig Garvin – Putting a modern twist on a 200 Year old Home!

My name is Craig Garvin, I have worked with Hanley since 2016 at the Amgen site in Dún Laoghaire. In 2021 along with my partner we purchased our “new” old home in Lucan Co. Dublin. For us it’s very important to limit the impact we are having on the environment. Heating and running a 200+ year old house is not efficient, and we have set our mind on addressing this ASAP.

Typically, it takes between 70 and 80 tonnes of CO2 to build a new house, modern houses have a life expectancy of around 40 years and are extremely energy efficient emitting only 1 tonne of CO2 per year on average. Over its lifetime an A rated house will emit approx. 80 tonnes of CO2 or 2 tonnes a year. Our house is currently 230 years Old and due to the primitive nature of building in the 1790’s the embodied carbon of the house is approx. 40 tonnes. It is currently an E2 rated building. The building to date would have an impact of approx. 16 tonnes per year CO2 due to the old systems in place to heat it.

Upgrading a house which is over 200 years old, and a listed building is not an easy task as most modern applications are not applicable and cannot be used.

  • Windows must retain the look/qualities of the original “sash” style window and must be of timber construction. Meaning that retrofitting triple glazed windows is not an option.
  • Walls cannot be insulated using gypsum or PIR insulation as the products used must be breathable and natural to work with the existing fabric of the building
  • Floors and internal features must be retained
  • Fireplaces need to be retained in original condition.

With all of this in mind I used the “Hanley Green Grant” to work with a specialist company to devise a plan for the upgrading and future proofing of the house. Through this work we have devised a plan to bring the house from its current E2 rating to A3. There is further potential to further improve this rating to A1 with the addition of Photovoltaic panels.

The following is our plan as set out by the assessment.

Building fabric upgrades

Wall Insulation:

  • 50mm insulated lime/ hemp plaster at lambda 1.15 W/mK or equivalent to all existing walls to achieve at least U-value 0.77 W/m^2K.
  • Natural Sheeps wool insulation fitted to kneel walls in 2nd floor (162.5mm insulated plasterboard mm or equivalent at lambda 0.022 or equivalent to achieve at least U-value 0.18W/m^2K).

Roof and Floor Insulation:

  • 300mm sheep’s wool Ceiling level attic (Loft) Insulation to achieve U-value of at least 0.16 W/m2K. This may require creating a new ope in the ceiling of the 2nd floor bedroom and making good.
  • PIR insulation fitted to new concrete ground floor (150mm insulation or equivalent at lambda 0.022 or equivalent to achieve at least U-value 0.11W/m^2K).

Windows & Doors:

  • All existing windows to be replaced with, and new windows to be windows with sizes as per Architects specification to achieve average U-value of at least 1.5 W/m2K.
  • Air Tightness Upgrades:
  • Air tightness measures to achieve minimum air tightness level of 10 m3/(h.m2) as q50.
  • Permanent Closure of Chimney(s) [except where open fires being retained].

Heating System Upgrades:

  • Pressurize Heating circuit c/w expansion vessel manual filling valve, Magnetic Filter & Auto bypass Valve.
  • Replace existing heating pipework in Dwelling – subject to review with plumbing contractor.
  • Install Thermostatic Radiator Valves [TRV’s] where needed but limited to Bedrooms without room stats. Plus, Auto Bypass Valve.
  • Install New Heat Pump Min. 10kW [Air to Water] with full controls upgrade with remote access; two zones for heating and one for hot water.
  • Install a new 250L (Minimum) heat pump cylinder with temperature control and wiring as required.
  • Cold Water Tank lagging, Feed & expansion tank lagging, all attic pipework lagging.

Electrical upgrades [& other]:

  • Ensure Maximum Import Capacity for electricity high enough to carry electrical load to heat pump.
  • Install 100% LED lighting throughout.
  • Install 8kWp Solar Photovoltaic system with all appropriate electrical and metering requirements for net metering.

Although many of the measures appropriate to upgrading a house >100 years old are not grant eligible We have identified steps that can bring a 230year old house up to passive house standards and having a footprint of “Nett Zero” Making the house more efficient than a new build given that it already exists so minimal additional carbon will be emitted during the upgrades. We were eligible for the Hanley Green Grant which was a great help and I would recommend anyone to get involved in this great initiative.