Slow but steady progress on greening up a Fishergate terraced house

Centre for nature and green living

Slow but steady progress on greening up a Fishergate terraced house

Mike Childs

York Open Eco Homes 2020 case study by Mike Childs

You can either watch Mike present his experiences in the first part of this video or read on below.

The climate emergency isn’t new. If you read climate science report to the 1992 Earth Summit, it was already clear by that data that our climate was in trouble (and nature). Given that perspective I’m a bit ashamed that it’s taken us the best part of 20 years to get as far as we have on house. But that said, life and particularly finances can get in the way of making rapid progress (which is why the government needs to do much more to help householders make their houses green).

But enough of the politics, this is what we’ve practically done at our terraced house (37 Frances Street in Fishergate).

Stupidly we haven’t tracked our energy bills through the years to monitor what difference the different items have made, although since we’ve changed how we use the house a lot over the same period I’m not sure it would be very instructive if we had (we’ve got kids now, and also work at home more).

We’ve also not done everything yet. We haven’t fitted under-floor insulation to our front room and hall (I’d love to get hold of the Q-bot) and external wall insulation would be great (but would probably need to be a whole street approach to be practical).

Everything we’ve done has made a difference but the windows and doors plus heat pump have probably made the biggest difference to our carbon footprint. We also keep the thermostat low (18 degrees), which will make a big difference.

Greening our house is a big part of trying to lessen our environmental footprint. Not owning a car is also makes a big difference (we do rent a car for some holidays, and occasionally borrow a friend’s, so we’re not angels). We don’t eat meat at home and have cut down on dairy a lot, although I treat myself on our rare excursions to country pubs.

But the reality is that we’ve been able to afford to go green, albeit over a long period. If we are really going to address the climate emergency the government needs to pay for this work upfront (their new green grant scheme* is a start but not enough).

[*the scheme has since been cancelled]

This page was last updated 6 Dec 2021