Borough’s ‘air tight’ home

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One of the country’s most energy efficient homes is in Pendle – and it’s so green it’s almost “air tight”.

Number 2, Kenilworth Drive, Earby, may look like any other on the Northolme Estate but a £50,000 refurbishment carried out in 2011 means it is one of the country’s greenest.

Peter and Linda Wilkinson, of Dales Renewables Ltd, carried out the refurbishment using the principles of Passivhaus, achieving extreme levels of insulation from the most advanced materials and technologies helping to radically reduce bills.

The work was carried out by Peter’s other business, Dales Contracts Ltd, of which he is a partner with Paul Baxter, and the house was fitted with solar panels, triple glazed windows, special insulation in the walls, roof and around the windows and insulated carpets.

It also has a mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery which extracts warmth from air filtered from inside the house and transfers it to air being brought into the house from outside.

Peter said Kenilworth Drive is an example of what can be done. He said: “We had the opportunity to gut the building when we refurbished it, everything came out.

“We were putting in a new kitchen, windows and doors and decorating and rewiring it anyway which would have cost around £15,000. It’s a long term strategy to create a low energy building, not just for the current tenant, but for the lifetime of the building.”

Energy prices have rocketed up in recent months and Peter doesn’t foresee a time when it will be much cheaper.

Kenilworth Drive’s annual electricity and gas bill has been approximately £200 in the years since it was refurbished, compared to that of an average three bedroom home of £1,066.

Although a refurbishment, Peter says the home would almost meet Passivhaus new build standards, and he also believes there will be a market for properties with energy saving features in the future as fuel prices continue a trend of increasing.

Peter added: “The cynic would say we could have put in the essentials for £15,000 and still had the equity in the building.

“We have just refurbished a three storey building in Harrogate and that has cost £50,000 just to bring it up to standard building regulations.

“Fifty per cent of energy we use in this country is in buildings and so the potential is huge. We could all be more comfortable and saving rather than living in fear of putting on the fire and fearing an extortionate energy bill.

“At the moment the market doesn’t really recognise it but I think in the future there could be a premium for properties like this.

“We have a funny psyche in this country that not many people really know how energy efficient their homes are but when you look at cars, for example, they could tell you at the drop of hat how many miles to the gallon their vehicle will do.”