The Superhomes programme is celebrating its tenth year in 2017, and the season starts again in September. If you haven’t come across it before, Superhomes is a scheme where ordinary people with extraordinary homes make them open to the public, and you can come and look around and learn from their renovation efforts.
There are dozens of homes across the country, from Shrewsbury to Sheffield to Southampton, though sadly none in Luton just yet. These aren’t glamorous eco-homes. They’re traditional houses that have been retro-fitted and refurbished to a high energy standard, cutting their energy use by at least 60% to qualify. While it may be less exciting than pioneering sustainable architecture, it’s actually more important. Most of us won’t get to lower our carbon footprints by moving to a new build eco-home. We need to make the most of what we already have, and it helps to learn from those who have gone before us.
Retrofitting matters because houses last a long time, and we can’t just tear down and rebuild our housing stock. We need zero-carbon retrofits as well as new building standards. Besides, there’s nothing to lose. Reducing domestic carbon emissions also lowers energy bills and makes homes more comfortable all year round. There’s no reason not to support retro-fitting.
To find a home near you, have a look at the Superhomes website and browse the map. You’ll also find forums, video tours, and lots of information on trusted traders and suppliers. And if you’ve done a lot of work on your own home, and are hospitable enough to host an open house and show people around, get in touch for next year.