The restoration question

By Roger Hunt l January 15, 2011

Repair not restoration has always been my mantra when considering the renovation of old buildings. What do I mean? Well, repair is about mending with minimum loss of fabric and thus retaining character and authenticity; restoration is about returning to a perfect state, a process often based on conjecture and potentially resulting in fakery. Taken…

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Passivhaus retrofit

By Roger Hunt l December 20, 2010

Dating from the 1860s, 100 Princedale Road in the Holland Park area of London doesn’t, at first glance, look to be much different from any of the other houses in the terrace. But it is. Octavia Housing is aiming to register it as the UK’s first certified retrofit to Passivhaus standards. Passivhaus buildings are designed…

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Wrapping up for winter

By Roger Hunt l December 1, 2010

I’m frequently asked about what can be done to save energy and keep buildings warm in winter so there seems no better time to share some of my thoughts than when I’m snowed in. With any property, adding extra insulation in the loft is the most important thing you can do. But do be sure to allow…

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Flooding and old buildings

By Roger Hunt l November 7, 2010

Incredibly, a YouGov survey commissioned by Landmark Information Group has revealed that, although one in four homes are at risk of flooding, 83% of homeowners don’t believe their homes are at risk. In the hope of making people more aware, Landmark – a supplier of digital mapping services, property and environmental risk information – launched…

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Researching retrofit

By Roger Hunt l October 28, 2010

Britain has the oldest housing stock in the developed world with 8.5 million properties over 60 years old. This poses huge problems when it comes to the refurbishment and retrofitting of homes to make them more energy efficient, especially as nearly half of them are ‘hard to treat’ with solid walls and/or no loft space.…

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Why old buildings need to breathe

By Roger Hunt l October 12, 2010

Spending three days talking and lecturing at the National Home Improvement Show made me again realise the huge importance of getting across the message that old buildings need to ‘breathe’. Many people simply don’t understand that using the wrong materials can be an expensive mistake which may wreck their home. The way old buildings work…

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Old buildings and television

By Roger Hunt l August 12, 2010

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, especially when it’s dished out to millions of viewers on primetime television and concerns old buildings. It’s all very well to say that pointing or totally rotten timber floors need to be replaced but, if words such as ‘lime mortar’ and ‘ventilation’ are not included in the voiceover,…

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Renovation tale – Part 3

By Roger Hunt l July 30, 2010

This is the tale of my first major renovation project some years ago… It’s amazing how inanimate objects can take on such importance. I’m contemplating a cardboard box. It contains a kettle, a coffee jar, tea bags, an enormous quantity of sugar and an odd assortment of mugs which my builders, Dave and Rob, have…

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Re-cording a sash window

By Roger Hunt l July 21, 2010

Re-cording a sash window is not as difficult as many people think. Recently I did ten in quick succession at the 1900 house we’re renovating in America and, for once, remembered to take pictures of some of the stages. The job is done from inside and only requires basic tools. With big windows especially, it’s useful…

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Low carbon ventilation

By Roger Hunt l July 16, 2010

I seem to have been writing about the need for old buildings to ‘breathe’ forever but the fact is that all buildings need to have air movement within them, whatever their construction. With the emphasis now on airtight, energy efficient homes the issue is becoming ever more important, both in new build and retrofit projects,…

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Retrofit challenge

By Roger Hunt l June 18, 2010

PRP architects’ Future of Retrofit event in Manchester last week brought into sharp focus the immensity of the task ahead for owners of existing homes when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions. For private homeowners and social housing providers alike, retrofitting poses more than tricky technical questions. It has the potential, quite literally, to change…

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