Energy efficient conversion of a bungalow

This blog is about the thoughts, information, plans and realities of attempting an energy efficient refurbishment of a bungalow. One that is to become our new home. Now that our children have all grown up and found their own homes our long term house is far too big for us. So we have set about finding another that will be more suitable for our future needs.

This is a wonderful opportunity, but one we approach with care, and not a little trepidation. It will be a big change, reducing in size and choosing and adapting somewhere that will do us for, we hope, many years to come as our needs and capabilities change. The actual location is not relevant to this discussion, which is concerned with the building itself. Suffice to say that we have taken three or four years of careful thought and exploration choosing a location that suits our envisaged lifestyle, now and through into the future.

When I engage on a project of any magnitude I find that I go through an iterative process of discovery, organisation, and more discovery as I try to make sense of the situation and the knowledge that is required to deal with it.

In the process of doing that I make notes. And, as this project is one that many are being encouraged to emulate, I’ve decided to make these notes and ruminations on a blog. If you find them useful, interesting or contentious that I’d love to hear from you. You may have the thought that really helps me, or maybe someone else.

As you will have gathered from the title, the main thrust of this blog is concerned with improving energy efficiency of the new dwelling. However, in trying to put this in context we’ve drawn up three guiding principles.


For comfort, especially as we get older, the building must be able to minimise the extremes of temperature resulting from draughts, cold walls, floors and ceilings, and excessive sun effects. Hot water should be available as required.


The social spaces in the dwelling are well sized; not too large for daily living whist having the capacity to absorb visitors. Any changes made will need to maintain this balance.


The building structure and design needs to optimise solar gain and heat retention in a controllable manner, especially when the temperatures drop. We seek to maximise the use of free incoming energy and consumables.

and the budget…

Whilst reading around this subject I’ve found many examples of highly energy efficient buildings. But many of them are new build, or at least really significant upgrades where the starting point was a building in very poor repair. Such start points give a significant budget freedom as the value add is quite high. In our case, and I suspect that of many others, the building being used is in reasonable condition and so, the ability to ‘add value’ to create a budget is limited. I’ll return to this theme later.

So that’s the background.  There are so many angles to consider, and that’s apart from the normal process of making a purchase in the first place!

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