Super-insulated roof for Arts and Crafts house


The architects of the Arts and Crafts movement were not particularly interested in the energy performance of their buildings, but one self-builder uses super-insulation in their roof to get the best of both worlds.

In fact, keeping the heat in too well would have spoilt the opportunities to design beautiful fireplaces and inglenooks, such as Hugh Baillie Scott’s masterpiece at Blackwell in Windermere.The Orchard 7

It is, however, possible to have the best of both worlds, especially if you have the good fortune to build anew. As a self-builder, I can specify the very best thermal and ecological performance while also being free to create a home that celebrates craftsmanship, the beauty of materials and the decorative possibilities of the building fabric. The Orchard, currently on site in Clapham, south London, is designed to be all these things.

The Orchard is a timber frame house with exceptionally high levels of insulation, an airtight fabric and passive heat recovery ventilation. We have just finished the roof, a warm deck design with a single-ply membrane on top of 300mm of Kingspan Thermaroof TR27  LPC/FM insulation. Our roofers, from SW Roofing in south London, had never laid such a thick layer of insulation. By the end of the job, they were convinced that our energy bills will be negligible.

laying insulation

Laying the Kingspan Thermaroof TR27 LPC/FM Insulation

The roof is certainly not typical of an Arts and Crafts house but, as it cannot be seen from the road, I was happy to swap our Edwardian aesthetic here for something altogether more 21st century. At the very top of the roof stand three heat recovery ventilation cowls, supplied by Ventive. These look sternly down upon a 3.6kWp photovoltaic array and two triple-glazed roof windows. The rain that collects on the roof is channelled to a 1500 litre rainwater tank buried in the back garden. All in all, there’s a lot going on up there.

I genuinely hope to live in The Orchard for the rest of my life, so all this up front investment in energy performance makes good financial sense. Our projected annual heat load is only 1500 kWh, which is not going to hurt even in the worst case scenario of rising energy prices.

Follow progress with the build at

will on roof

Will Anderson sitting on his well insulated roof.

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Kingspan Insulation is a market leading manufacturer of optimum, premium and high performance rigid insulation products and insulated systems for building fabric and building services applications.

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