Step by Step Guide to ECO Renovation


Welcome to the step by step guide to reducing your energy consumption and CO2 footprint in you household.

This page on the website will grow as the work on the house proceeds. To date (May 2010), an extension has already been built and the techniques for insulating have already been tested. These will be explained asĀ  we proceed with the work.

Step 1 – Getting Agreement to Start

As with any project, at the very least you need to understand why you want to start and get some sort of buy-in / understanding from your spouse / partner. In “Project Management (PM) Speak”, this is what is known as a “Project Charter” which gives you the authority to proceed with the project. So, if you were running this as a business then you would need to get an initial agreement with the client, to get a high level understanding of the client’s motivation, and budget. Here are a few prompts that you might want to think about :-

  • Summary of the key aspects of the project.
  • What’s the need (problem to be solved / benefit to be gained).
  • What’s going to be delivered – any intrim points ?
  • Assumptions / Constraints / Risks
  • Budget / Resources.
  • Approach – thoughts about how you might achieve this.
  • Acceptance – how will you determine that aspects of the work are satisfactory / complete ?
  • Change Management – How will you control changes that will be required as the work proceeds ?

See example here.

Step 2 – Feasibility Study

The characteristics of the feasibility study are:-

  • It’s Whole House i.e. it covers everything that you think should be applied to the house to meet the 80% target. In PM Speak, its the basis upon which to define a Scope Document (i.e. a list of objectives) and Technical Specification.
  • It attempts to sequence the work taking into account the different trades that may need to do a “first fit” whilst you have the floorboards up for example.

Attempts to do this in a scientific way in Jan 2009 were abandoned, but ideally what you need is a prioritised list of changes / improvements to take into consideration to help formulate your feasibility study. This link takes you to the Feasibility Study that was done in May 2009 and also includes a YouTube Tour of the house.

The thinking to be applied whilst producing the feasibility study is to identify what else needs to be in place when the room is being dismantled. If you are stripping the floor, do you need a plumber to lay pipes or electrician to lay wires ? In phase 1, the garage was stripped (ceiling removed) so we had access to the water pipes to the first floor toilet. Additionally, we also had to move the waste pipe from the toilet so that it wasn’t melted by the wood burning stove. So, at the same time we incorporated an additional water pipe to the second floor toilet through the boxing that surrounded the waste pipe. Also, we had the floor up in the hall so we layed an additional pipe from the garage through the hall into the kitchen (with an end stop). Finally, we included a tap within the garage. So now we had 4 end points which enables us to bring it all together at one point.

At this “one point” we will be able to connect to the rain water harvesting system. But currently, its still connected to the water main. When I win the lottery, we will embark on another phase!

I didn’t win the lottery, but we did get an inheritance and added the rain water harvesting.