111 ditchling rise

When Maria Hawton-Mead bought her Victorian terraced house in Brighton, it was in a grisly state - no central heating and orange shag pile carpet! But a five-month eco-refurbishment project turned this leaky, cold and energy-hungry house into a warm, attractive, low-energy home that’s cheap to run.

The project – which included double glazing and upgraded draughtproofing, extensive loft, floor and wall insulation, a woodburning stove, photovoltaic roof panels and low-energy lighting – resulted in a drop of at least 80% in carbon emissions, significantly lower gas bills, and generation of surplus electricity which is sold back to the grid.

With slim double glazing in timber sash windows that look just like the original ones, internal rather than external wall insulation, and original Victorian cornices reinstated over the internal wall insulation, this project is a good example of how dramatic improvements in energy performance can be achieved even in older homes and conservation areas, without compromising the appearance and character of the building.

The house is an Eco Open House.