Bungalow Bills stars

What does it feel like to suffer the cold, mould and discomfort of a 1960s bungalow, and experience its rebirth as a passive house? The owner of one award-winning project spills the beans.

Additional reporting by Jeff Colley

From small screen to deep green stars

The new Oxfordshire studio of Charlie Luxton Design, the practice of the well-known TV presenter and architectural designer, is deeply impressive for its exhaustive attention to sustainability across every facet of the project, from energy use and embodied carbon to the reuse of materials and the ecological restoration of the three-and-a-half-acre site. It’s a gorgeous building, too.

Phit the bill

A passive house, by its nature, requires a much smaller amount of energy than a typical home, and when its heating demand is met by electricity, and you cover it in solar PV panels, you can start to see the potential for a whole new generation of passive homes that are semi-independent of the electricity grid. This is the case for Carrstone House in Bedfordshire, which generates so much solar energy it had to be registered as a power station.

Passive Power

A passive house, by its nature, requires a much smaller amount of energy than a typical home, and when its heating demand is met by electricity, and you cover it in solar PV panels, you can start to see the potential for a whole new generation of passive homes that are semiindependent of the electricity grid. This is the case for Carrstone House in Bedfordshire, which generates so much solar energy it had to be registered as a power station.

It's a lovely house to live in now

How do you take a painfully cold, unhealthy house and make it comfortable and affordable to heat? Five years ago, one Irish family decided enough was enough, and took decisive action to transform their period property into a cosy, healthy home where the heating system ticks along without the homeowners touching it.

Breath of life

The skilful deep retrofit of a red-brick semi on the south side of Dublin has brought an old property into the 21st century in terms of energy performance and living space, while carefully upgrading its century-old façade with breathable materials.

Home school

Rural Ireland has a crisis of dereliction, with numerous government policies aimed at breathing new life into thousands of old, vacant buildings. The careful transformation of one 19th century schoolhouse into a small, beautiful home shows a way forward for the sensitive, climate-conscious renovation of many of these properties.

Form and function

Run-down terraces are an all-too-common sight in towns and villages across Ireland, but an ambitious deep retrofit project in Tralee provides an inspiring blueprint for regeneration, taking a cold 19th century terraced office and turning it into a beautifully designed space with tiny energy bills, fit for the 21st century.

Witness the Phitness

The deep retrofit of this 1930s dwelling on the Hampshire coast provides a pitch-perfect example of how to transform old dwellings while preserving their original structure and minimising embodied carbon, utterly transforming the living space without the need for an extension, and creating a cosy home that uses two-thirds less energy than before.

Onwards and upwards

This Enerphit project in the suburbs of South Dublin has dramatically transformed and extended a dated 1970s dwelling by adding an extra storey, radically reducing its energy consumption and creating a smartly-designed, light filled family home and office.

Senior college

The extensive energy and ventilation upgrade of 12 run-down bungalows at College View sheltered housing scheme in Wexford town not only transformed the lives and comfort of residents, but an extensive period of post-occupancy study has yielded important lessons for future projects.

Good stock - Stylish Stockport retrofit achieves radical energy savings

This inspiring project may be exactly what the deep retrofit sector needs: an example of how to turn a bog standard, cold suburban home of little architectural merit into a climate champion delivering outstanding levels of energy performance, comfort and health, all while transforming the building architecturally.

Victoria Falls - 19th century home drops energy demand by 94%

This ambitious renovation and extension of a single-storey Dublin redbrick, bringing it up to an A1 rating while far exceeding the new build NZEB standard, provides a beautifully-detailed blueprint for delivering warmth, comfort, and healthy indoor air — as well as extra space and living density — in historic city centre properties.

Cork retrofit blitzes new build NZEB standard

The retrofit and extension of a run-down semi in Cork shows just how radically a typical Irish home can be transformed with a skilful retrofit — and why, if your budget is limited, upgrading the building fabric should be your first priority.

Cheshire semi gets passive retrofit for £60k

Vet Chris Copeman was so meticulous about the deep retrofit of his home near the village of Frodsham that he decided to train as a passive house consultant and project manage the build himself. The result? A certified passive house created on a surprisingly low budget.

The deepest greenest retrofit ever?

With obsessive attention to preserving and restoring the original fabric of these two Victorian townhouses, and a commitment to shunning petrochemicals and using only natural materials, could this be the most wildly ambitious and sustainable passive retrofit ever undertaken in the UK?

Holy Trinity

Situated in a stunning location in the west of Ireland, between Galway Bay and the limestone hills of the Burren, this project provided a complex challenge in three parts: deep retrofit an old cottage into a yoga studio, reinvigorate its original extension, and build a new barrel-roofed passive-grade extension — then make it all work together as one unified home and workspace.

Historic London house gets near passive transformation

The default answer when you want to do pretty much anything to a listed building is ‘no’. The default assumption if you want to achieve the Enerphit standard for retrofit is ‘tackle everything’. So how on earth do you retrofit a listed building to within a whisker of the Enerphit standard — with the blessing of the conservation officer?

Granite-hewn Victorian home upgraded to PHI low energy standard

Built in 1850, this home in Dartmoor national park would have relied on local timber supplies for heating until the advent of widely-available central heating. One passive house-flavoured retrofit later, it’s back to its wood-burning roots – only this time with much less wood use, and much higher comfort.