Bath Green Homes’ – Open Homes Weekend BISF House

Bath Green Homes' - Open Homes Weekend BISF House 1

In September 2014, during the annual Bath Green Homes open Homes weekend, the owners of 18 different types of homes including a BISF House, threw open their doors to like-minded homeowners interested in making energy saving improvement to their own homes.
Energy saving measures on view varied significantly per property, from professional Hi-Tec installations to DIY improvements that anyone can undertake.

The BISF House on show, was owned by our very own Senior Community member Ed, who some of you may already be familiar with, thanks to his featured projects and valuable input here on Non-Standard
Ed had taken the DIY approach to improving the efficiency of his 1940’s inspired BISF house, whilst keeping the style of the property as authentic to its original design as possible.

Ed’s work had been carried out with great care and a high level of attention to detail. Ed chose to insulate his home from within,  by carefully installing rigid insulation panels inside interior cavity of his homes walls and being very careful not to block the free flow of air that these properties require, in order to keep the steel frame in tip top condition.
Every aspect of the installation process involved many hours of research and experimentation by Ed so that he could achieve the maximum efficiency but with minimal outlay.

Eds house was described as demonstrating:

  • Self-installed internal wall insulation
  • Loft insulation
  • Draught proofing
  • LED & low energy lighting

A Late 1940s steel frame British Iron & Steel Federation (BISF) construction semi-detached House:
The owner has internally insulated several rooms as part of a whole house renovation. All the techniques are applicable to other solid wall houses, not just BISF. Thermal imaging led to further improvements and the once poorly-performing post-war prefab is now a warm and appealing home.

Area: Freeview Road Twerton

Overall measures on show amongst all the open houses included, draught proofing, low energy lighting, insulation, window improvements, heating equipment and controls, renewable energy technologies, and much more.
The event was free to all but some of the homes did require visitors to book ahead.
Bath Green homes is a community project set up by Transition Bath, Bath Preservation Trust, and B&NES Council, organising a programme of events related to home energy efficiency from September –November 2014.

For more information visit the website at or to be kept up to date you can Join the mailing list or follow @BathGreenHomes on Twitter, or to get in contact email ad***@ba************.uk or telephone 01225 477528.

The Green Open Homes network aims to support low-carbon open homes events across the country through free resources and advice.
Open homes days – in which volunteers who have made low carbon improvements to their homes can share their experiences with neighbours and others – are an excellent way to demonstrate the benefits of low-carbon renovations such as solar panels, solid wall insulation and draught-proofing.
Some events feature half a dozen homes, others up to 40 or more. They are characterised by a welcoming and friendly atmosphere, candid discussions about home improvements and a sharing of experiences and advice. The best of them come with a generous helping of community spirit and – on occasions – tea and cake.


  1. Hi Marc, it’s really good that the council seems to be pushing energy-saving upgrades through the Green Deal with its top up grants and they are also working together with the volunteer groups Transition Bath and the Bath Preservation Trust on the issue. As you may know, Bath has a lot of older housing, a lot of it built before cavity walls and much of it historic so it is quite a big issue here.

    From the location of the new flue on the roof it appears that Somer/Curo (local housing association) have installed the new boilers either in one of the bedroom cupboards or in the loft as the flue is next to and separate from the original flue. As there are two of us and I only have a third of a cupboard in the bedroom with the rest taken up by a hot water cylinder I’d really like to free up that cupboard and not have a boiler in there! Not sure why you’d want to take out the built-in cupboards as I find them very useful and space-saving and attractive compared with free-standing wardrobes, especially now I’ve opened up the space above them. I had thought about the out-house, but as all the central heating and hot water pipework radiates from the centre of the house that doesn’t seem ideal unless there’s something I haven’t thought of (I can’t even think of an acceptable route to take a CH flow, CH return and DHW pipe from the out-house to the existing pipes at the centre of the house). The kitchen isn’t ideal either as there isn’t a huge amount of cupboard space to start with.

    So that really leaves the loft. I was thinking of taking out the flue except for the last bit that goes through the roof. Having the boiler up against the roof truss on the gable side (I’m assuming it will not fit through the truss to get to the far side where the original flue is) and then using a 45 bend in the boiler flue to take it out through the remaining piece of the original flue. Then the boiler would be almost exactly above the existing pipework and could easily connect to the pipes in the (former) airing cupboard. Getting the gas supply up there would be a little tricky but I’m thinking up inside the wall behind the meter cupboard then out into the kitchen to avoid the RSJ in the top of the wall, then back into the ceiling/floor void (like the original gas pipe to the cooker) and up inside the landing/bathroom wall to the loft. A cupboard that goes up to the ceiling would hide it in the kitchen and then the surface mounted gas pipe that goes all round the kitchen door in the hall that looks terrible could come out.

    I guess I just have to convince an installer that this is a good plan. I understand to to have a boiler in a loft you need a fixed loft ladder and a proper floor in the loft which we have now as I’ve completely boarded the loft from the gable wall up to the middle truss.


  2. Hello Ed
    Congratulations, it’s great to see that the Open Homes weekend was a success and hopefully will inspire others to insulate their homes to an equally high standard. It would be good to see similar schemes rolled out across the Country to increase awareness.

    It also sounds like your Council are making an active effort to encourage EWI installations through grant funding, which is a major bonus.

    Boiler re–location is always an issue depending upon available space and access issues, not only to the boiler but also for the associated pipework.
    I have seen boilers fitted in the following locations:
    On bedroom walls (not ideal).
    Some fitted inside the redundant cupboard that once housed the hot water tank. (again, not ideal) if you want to remove these cupboards to gain extra living space.
    Several located on the kitchen wall and suitably concealed by a tall kitchen cupboard.
    Perhaps the most frequently used location has been inside the out-building which is often close to the main gas feed and allows easy access for pipework inside the house.

    Boiler fitting is always one of those issues that requires a lot of thought, as they are not easy to move should we change our minds. The boiler flue is another consideration, with many going straight out through an external wall or following a suitable path using a flue extension.
    Those located in the bedroom cupboards appear to be vented via a flue that runs up inside the outer flue casing, which of course leads to other issues if this requires removal.

    It would be good to hear from others regarding different solutions.


  3. Hi Marc and Fiona, the open weekend went well and was well worthwhile. I didn’t get quite as many visitors as I might have hoped, I think due to being on the other side of town from most of the other open homes. I did have a visit from two officials from the council who were very enthusiastic and keen to roll out their scheme to help people upgrade their homes and hopefully we can help each other with that. This is the website about it:

    I haven’t removed the flue yet as we still have a back boiler that uses it. However the council are offering a grant of up to £3000 for boiler replacement so hopefully this will soon change. Where to put the new boiler and how to deal with the pipework in the boxing-in around the flue is a bit of a problem. Was thinking of having it installed in the loft to save space, but how to the gas supply up there is a bit of a problem. I’d really like to remove the flue in the main bedroom so the entrance to the room isn’t restricted by it and also remove the hot water cylinder from the airing cupboard so we have two full cupboards to use. Doug has a good post about flue removal here : – it doesn’t deal with what to do with the boiler and pipework etc though.

    You can see that Somer or Curo have replaced the back boilers as they have new boiler flues through the roof, but I’m not sure what they have done inside.

    There won’t be another open weekend till next year, but if you’d like to have a look sometime before then let me know!


  4. Next Time Ed you have an open day would love to know would be really interested to see your house. Have you removed flue? looking to remove Know somer/curo have removed in some of there houses.

  5. Well done Ed,
    it’s great to see a fellow BISF owner actively sharing his experience and knowledge with other members of the community.

    We look forward to hearing your feedback about the event and how you became involved in the Bath Green Homes open house scheme.