Don't Move Improve 2022 shortlist

3 energy efficient renovations

These projects, all shortlisted for a Don’t Move, Improve! award, have reduced carbon emissions

By Victoria Purcell | 3 March 2022

Grand Designs magazine is always interested in renovation projects that champion energy efficiency. These three projects, all shortlisted for a New London Architecture Don’t Move, Improve! 2022 award, do just that.

‘We were looking for creativity, originality, liveability, and cost-effectiveness, as well as consideration of environmental impact and local context,’ said Amy Chadwick Till, Programme Director at NLA. ‘[The shortlist] showcases a wide range of budgets, building styles, locations and homeowner needs.’

With 20% of homes in the UK built before 1919 – and 75% built pre-1981 – retrofitting the nation’s leaky old houses is a major factor in hitting the government’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Of the 15 London renovation projects shortlisted for innovation in home improvements, three in particular stand out for their efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

1. Artist Studio Conversion by VATRAA

Architecture and interior design studio VATRAA, winner of the Don’t Move, Improve! Compact Design of the Year 2021 prize, expanded a former artist’s studio in Kensington and Chelsea while reducing its carbon emissions. Before the refurbishment, the property was a 60sqm single-space studio, with single glazing, no thermal insulation and gas heating. The conversion added 80sqm to create a four-bedroom home with improved airtightness, a heat pump, mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system (MVHR), and a ‘raw finish’ approach to reduce the amount of materials required.

Before the renovation, the Dwelling Emission Rate (DER) was 47.29 kgCO2/m2. Afterwards, it measured 28.06 kgCO2/m2. The project also reduced the Dwelling Fabric Efficiency Rating (DFEE) from 172.65 kWh/m2/hr to 86.98 kWh/m2/hr. The renovation’s annual CO2 emissions measure 3.1 tonnes, compared to 6 tonnes for a typical household. CO2 emissions could be reduced even further with the addition of solar panels.

2. Coffered House by Proctor and Shaw

Coffered House in Southwark by Proctor and Shaw, also on the Don’t Move, Improve! 2022 shortlist, showcases an energy efficient loft extension to a Victorian home. The flat roof has insulated plasterboard and 150mm insulation between the rafters, meeting a U-value of 0.15W/m2K, which already meets new building regulations coming into force in June 2022 (current regulations require a maximum U-value of 0.18W/m2K for a flat roof extension).

A custom Accoya timber-framed double-glazed window system and insulated wall panels also feature. The extension, which accommodates a master bedroom, dressing area and light-filled en suite, occupies the full width of the front of the house. The interior, defined by bespoke fitted cabinetry finished in scalloped oak and oak veneer, is pared back to showcase the abundance of natural light.