Filmed for Channel 4’s hit TV show Restoration Man, Pete and Nikki’s dream of restoring a derelict windmill in Kent that has been owned by Pete’s family for over 100 years came to fruition.
Locally listed and in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the heart of the county, the windmill had been a roofless ruin since 1915. Pete and Nikki’s plan was to restore and adapt the structure into a usable family home. The end result is a truly beautiful character property featuring the restored windmill linked by a glass structure to a purpose built barn house. Just as importantly, the property is a fully functioning home that is a delight to live in.
A key consideration of the build was energy efficiency, as owner Pete Fagg explains: “It was absolutely an important consideration, but we wanted to be sensible about this. There are no eco warriors involved! We looked at what is acceptable versus what is ideal and picked the best compromise. We tried to keep a level head on what was really required and practical”.
“We were struggling to make the building efficient enough to use an air source heat pump, which was our heating of choice. This is a building of two parts, one new and one needing tlc, so that also needed to be taken into account. We examined the different options and in the end decided heat recovery technology provided us with the solution and had several other potential benefits. Fitting heat recovery systems in both parts of the building provided us with the final element that tipped the balance – recovering most of the 20% normally lost to ventilation - now it only takes 10kw to heat to 18° when it’s 3° outside.
“This in turn saw us jump nearly two levels in the Code for Sustainable Home calculations. The target was exceeding Building Regulations by 18%; by allowing us to use a renewable heat source the combination we now have pushes us to more like 50% on CO2 at least.”
Two Polypipe Ventilation HR Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems have now been installed at the unique Kent property. These Energy Saving Trust Best Practice compliant and SAP Q rated systems work by warming fresh air drawn into the building with the heat from waste stale air – as found in the kitchen or bathroom for example - using an efficient counter flow heat exchanger, thus reducing the need for heating. The HR appliances can recover more than 92% of this heat directly, saving costs and reducing carbon emissions.
For Pete and his builders, this was a welcome solution: “Having a complete solution was an important consideration. Polypipe was able to provide everything we needed for the heat recovery system, which was great and made it easier for the builders.”
With an old building such as this, work is ongoing and Pete has plans to further adapt the MVHR system to maximise solar gain within the building in the winter.