Manor Farm Road … the story so far …

Work started on the St Neots property a couple of months ago, and it has since undergone a great deal of preparation work prior to the introduction of the retro-fit measures and technologies now being installed. Here is the story so far….

Removal and replacement of the existing windows
The original aluminium framed windows have been removed and replaced with high performance double glazed UPVC sealed units, provided by Eurocell and installed by Nationwide Windows. Eurocell’s windows are recognised as being extremely durable, low-maintenance and energy efficient. With recent advances in recycling, their UPVC windows have now achieved the highest rating possible in the latest Building Research Establishment (BRE) Green Guide to Specification (June 2008). Eurocell’s windows have also achieved a high rating for thermal efficiency from the British Fenestration Ratings Council.

Windows removed

New windows in place

The full length window at the front of the property has been replaced with a cavity-filled brick, low level wall and a smaller window. Not only will this reduce heat loss, it will also help to act as a flood prevention measure.

Full length downstairs window

New window with low level wall


Removal of the conservatory
The aluminium and glass conservatory at the rear of the house has been removed. The conservatory was of poor construction with no ventilation or cooling system, ie vents, fans, small opening windows. Due to the orientation, the conservatory would become too hot during the summer and very cold in the winter, making it an uncomfortable living space in its current form.

Replacement cavity wall insulation
The existing cavity wall insulation was found to be inefficient and no longer effective, therefore giving very little thermal protection in the walls. To achieve a good u-value, enabling the house to retain its heat, it was decided to remove the cavity fill material and replace it with WALLTITE® cavity wall insulation, provided by BASF Polyurethanes.

WALLTITE® is an injection grade rigid closed cell PU foam that provides insulation, airtightness and thermal efficiency. The system is installed to BS 7456:1991 and is a totally inert material containing no fibres, formaldehyde or styrene. Durable and sustainable, WALLTITE® cavity wall insulation provides permanent adhesion over the whole surface area of a wall and overcomes wall tie failure, weak mortar joints and other related structural problems.
The insulation was installed by trained professionals approved by BASF. For more information on WALLTITE® cavity wall insulation and WALLTITE® spray foam insulation visit The larger external cavity walls of the St Ives property have also been insulated using the same product.

Loft insulation

Insulating the loft
Loft insulation has been laid between and across the joists of the roof space in accordance with current building regulation requirements. To reduce heat loss even further will be taking the additional step of insulating between the rafters with a 60mm application of WALLTITE® spray foam, giving excellent thermal performance.

Removal of existing heating system
The property was originally heated by electric storage heaters, which were inefficient and expensive to run.

Storgage Heater in dining room

Original storage heater

Connection to the gas network has allowed us to install a high efficiency condensing combination boiler, provided by Baxi. This will form part of a fully controlled heating system with radiators in each room. Each radiator will have its own thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) and there will be a digital room thermostat, allowing accurate control. To help control the level of heat in separate areas of the downstairs, we have added a door between the living room and kitchen/diner. This will also help to reduce the risk of condensation by preventing moisture laden air traveling from the kitchen to other areas of the house. There will be an extraction fan/hood fitted in the kitchen, as well as a fan in the bathroom to allow moisture to escape.

Solar Thermal Panels

Solar thermal hot water panels
Hot water was formerly provided using an immersion heater with economy 7 and stored in a poorly insulated hot water cylinder. The hot water will now be produced by the two solar thermal panels recently positioned on the south facing roof to maximize the use of the sun’s rays. The panels will work with the new boiler as part of the Baxi Solar flow system. The panels will provide the hot water for the property that can be topped up, if necessary, by the boiler and held in a small thermal store, ensuring hot water is always available. A thermostat fitted onto the thermal store will ensure the water temperature is at the required level suitable for use. For more information on Baxi and their Solar Flow System visit

Front and rear gardens
The back garden is in the process of being cleared, with new fencing erected on one side. Local garden expert Diane Jarvis and her team have provided stunning new designs for the gardens, incorporating a wide variety of plants and shrubs to encourage biodiversity. We are looking forward to the gardens taking shape – progress of which will be detailed in this blog.

Rear garden before clearance

Rear garden after clearance

The driveway at Manor Farm Road slopes away and has previously suffered with the problem of ‘puddling’ at the bottom of the slope, adjacent to the front of the garage.

Water collecting on driveway

There has been no drainage in this area so any rainfall would settle and ‘puddle’ until it slowly dissipated or dried. Brett Paving have provided a SUDS (Sustainable Drainage System) for the driveway, using specialist permeable paving which will allow any rainfall to soak into the paving at a steady rate and drain away effectively. Preparations for the driveway are well under way but we’ll keep you up-to-date with progress and will provide further information on the paving as it is laid. For more details on Brett Paving systems, visit

Internally, the older doors are being replaced with new ones supplied by Jeld Wen and with hardware from Dale Hardware. The kitchen has been stripped out and will be fitted with a new kitchen designed and supplied by Rixonway. The kitchen appliances, kindly supplied by Indesit, will be both energy and water efficient.

The bathroom and sanitaryware in both the St Ives and St Neots properties have been supplied by Twyfords, and incorporate water saving measures such as low flow taps and dual flush toilets. The new bath in the Manor Farm Road property has a slightly lower capacity, encouraging water efficiency.
To view Twyfords full range of bathroom supplies visit

Come back soon to visit our St Neots blog and keep up-to-date with progress…

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