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A not-yet-green open home: Annemieke and Tim’s story

A similing man and woman sit by a window.

Annemieke and Tim were at a loss for what do to about their home’s mouldy extension. Here’s how taking part in a CSE Open Homes event helped them find the root of the problem.

Annemieke and Tim live in an old stone home in a small village in North Somerset. Their extension was built in the 1970s. Although the extension’s cavity walls are insulated, the room inside is cold and damp, and patches of mould appear on the walls despite Annemieke’s repeated attempts to clean them. Annemieke uses the extension as her home office and is concerned that spending so much time in a mouldy room could be damaging her health.

A not-yet-green open home

The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is organising Green Open Homes tours across North Somerset to increase awareness of home energy efficiency improvements, known as retrofit. People can visit local homes and learn about improvements that have made them cosier, cheaper to heat and more environmentally friendly. We’re also running several ‘not-yet-green’ Open Homes events, where our retrofit experts lead visitors around a home and discuss possible improvements that could be made.

Annemieke and Tim volunteered to open their not-yet-green home for a tour. They were excited to receive expert advice on what to do about the mouldy extension but also felt the event could have greater benefits for their community.

Annemieke said:

We wanted to start a discussion about what we can do to improve homes in our community. Many people don’t know where to start when thinking about making their home more efficient, but everyone is looking at their bills and thinking about how they could save energy.

CSE retrofit experts Steve and Amy led a group of Tim and Annemieke’s neighbours on a tour of the home. They discussed simple improvements Tim and Annemieke could make to increase the house’s energy efficiency. The visitors also shared their own experiences and asked questions along the way.

Solving Tim and Annemieke’s mouldy mystery

When the group arrived at the extension, Steve quickly recognised the source of the mould. The cavity wall had been filled with Vermiculite, an outdated insulation material, which was retaining water, making the wall damp.

He explained to the group that the wet insulation was causing mould to grow. In winter, the damp walls would also leach out heat, meaning it would cost Tim and Annemieke more to keep their home warm.

Steve advised the group that the insulation could be removed, reducing the damp, mould and heat loss.

Annemieke was delighted:

I didn’t know you could remove old wet cavity insulation. I though we needed to knock the whole wall down which would be much pricier than just taking out the Vermiculite!

I learned a lot through the event and I was also really interested in the discussion with everybody about their own homes.

Join our next tour

Clevedon Climate Emergency and Sustainable Clevedon are hosting CSE’s next not yet green open home tour on Saturday 6 July.

Explore a traditional Victorian cottage with us and learn about retrofitting old and listed buildings. The tour will be hosted by a heating engineer and a retrofit expert from CSE.

What could you learn about your home?

CSE is organising open home tours across North Somerset as part of the West of England Local Energy Advice Demonstrator project. This project aims to boost the uptake of energy-efficiency home improvements in the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) region.

If you’re interested in attending or organising a tour in North Somerset, email

Not in North Somerset? Check out Bristol Energy Network and Bath & West Community Energy supporting events in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and B&NES.

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