NXTGEN Energy (and Next Generation Scaffolding) are proud to have worked on a project to retrofit a three-bedroom semi-detached home in Leigh-on-Sea with energy and water saving measures has been unveiled.

Work started on the house and garden in Juniper Road in March to renovate and install the latest energy and water saving technology, making it environmentally sustainable and cost effective.

The house will be open for people to view in the coming months, before a family from the council’s housing waiting list moves in.

Cllr Meg Davidson, cabinet member for environment cut the ribbon, to officially open the home and said: “This unassuming three-bedroom family home has been transformed and equipped with a number of water efficiency, energy-saving and energy-efficient devices, that utilise the latest technology and harness all the knowledge we currently have about how to retrofit houses and gardens and making them more efficient.

“While there may be retrofit projects taking place across the country, very few are tackling both house and garden at the same time, which according the figures of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) this house should be one of the most sustainable in the UK.

“As part of the FCRIP (Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme) Catchment to Coast project team’s involvement, there are weather and water monitors installed which will provide essential data, and show how rainfall for example, can be collected and turned into usable water using some of the garden’s water retention measures. Inside the house, smart devices capture and re-use greywater throughout the house.

“It’s a fantastic project to be a part of and I’m proud of all the council teams involved in developing it this far. It really proves Southend’s commitment to future-proofing homes and improving the water resilience against flood and drought.”

Some of the measures in the house and garden include:

  • external wall insulation – this home was built in the 1950/60s and has uninsulated solid walls. The existing conservatory was removed and slabs of 100mm insulation were fixed to all external walls then covered with weatherproof render and decorated
  • loft insulation – we topped up the existing insulation in the loft by adding 400mm of mineral wool insultation
  • windows and doors – We fitted new insulated draught free doors and triple glazed windows. The extra pane of glass will reduce heat loss and provide the added benefit of improved soundproofing and security
  • air source heat pump – by insulating the home we reduced heat loss and lowered heating demand by over half. This meant we could choose a smaller system than would otherwise be required – lowering upfront and ongoing costs. The existing gas boiler was replaced with an electric Air Source Heat Pump. We also fitted a hot water cylinder, new radiators and heating controls
  • ventilation – to improve ventilation, we installed two heat recovery units which continuously extract stale air. The units capture the heat from this extracted air before it is released outside. This same heat is used to warm the incoming fresh air, which reduces overall heat loss from the home
  • solar panels – we installed 10 solar panels on this roof which will generate around 3,000kWh of electricity per year. This energy will help to power the air source heat pump and electrical appliances in the home. This means 31% of the homes electrical energy will be generated on site. A battery which stores energy will also be fitted prior to occupation of the home
  • smart home monitoring – we’ve installed smart monitoring as part of the project to monitor heat, humidity and air quality of the home

The water resilience work in the house and garden was carried out by the Catchment-to-Coast project team, which is one of 25 national schemes looking at improving resilience to drought, surface-water flooding and coastal erosion, using nature-based solutions.

Paid for by funding via the FCRIP (Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme) which is run by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) interventions installed by service provider Eurovia include:

  • greywater reuse (HydraLoop) – dedicated equipment captures greywater from the shower, washing machine and sinks and treats and re-uses the water for toilet flushing, washing machine and landscape irrigation
  • smart water butt – the tank not only captures rainwater from part of the roof, but also connects to the Hydraloop to capture any excess water from the house. This tank replaces the outside mains tap that has been removed from the property
  • hydrorocks – natural aquifer blocks have been placed under paved areas around the house to improve flood resilience. Blocks have also been placed in rain gardens to not only collect and store rainwater but also for plants to use to remove the need for watering
  • highway water reuse – surface water is being redirected from the highway during rainfall, into the verge rain garden. The water is stored, treated and re-used by the plants in the verge rain garden, meaning rainwater is kept out of the surface water drains so assisting with flood resilience
  • climate resilient garden – the garden has been designed to be colourful, low maintenance with low watering needs and year-round visual appeal and interest. Most of the plants in the garden have been chosen because they are pollinator friendly and encourage the health and population of pollinator insects which are fundamentally important for nature and the production of flowers, fruits and vegetables

Cllr David Garston, cabinet member for housing and planning, added: “Visiting the house for the launch, it’s very impressive to see all these features. And I’m pleased that the next phase of the project is to retrofit 110 of the most in-need council owed homes in Southend, working with South Essex Homes and tenants to make sure their homes are energy and water efficient.”

If you would like to contact the council about a tour of the house, please email: retrofit@southend.gov.uk