A LEIGH home transformed into “one of the UK’s most sustainable properties” has officially been unveiled after it was overhauled by Southend Council with a host of environmental improvements. 

The home, in Juniper Road, Leigh, will now be offered to a family from the council’s housing waiting list who will benefit from lower energy and water bills thanks to the improvements. 

It is the first of 110 homes which the council is “retrofitting” energy saving kits that will make the homes more comfortable for residents, as well as adding water saving and recycling measures to homes and gardens.

The measures - including solar panels - will not only lower energy and water bills, but also deliver environmental improvements such as making more space for wildlife, reducing surface water flooding, and improving water quality.


The house will be open for people to view in the coming months, before a family from the council’s housing waiting list moves in.

Meg Davidson, councillor responsible for the environment, said: “While there may be retrofit projects taking place across the country, very few are tackling both house and garden at the same time. According to figures from the Energy Performance Certificate, this house should be one of the most sustainable in the UK.

“It’s a fantastic project to be a part of and I’m proud of the council teams involved in developing it. It really proves Southend’s commitment to future-proofing homes and improving water resilience against flood and drought.”


Insulation was added to the loft and external walls of the mid-20th century house, with new draught-free doors and triple-glazed windows installed. It is hoped the extra pane will reduce heat loss and improve soundproofing and security.

The existing gas boiler was replaced with an electric Air Source Heat Pump, as new insulation means heating demand was slashed by more than half. A hot water cylinder, new radiators and heating controls were also installed.


Ten solar panels on the roof will help power the air source heat pump and electrical appliances. 31 per cent of the home’s electrical energy will be generated on site, to be stored in a battery which will be fitted before residents move in.

A smart home monitoring system will check the humidity and air quality of the home.

David Garston, councillor responsible for housing and planning, added: “Visiting the house for the launch, it’s very impressive to see all these features.

“I’m pleased the next phase of the project is to retrofit 110 of the most in-need council owned homes in Southend, working with South Essex Homes and tenants to make sure their homes are energy and water efficient.”


HydraLoop equipment in the home reuses “greywater” from the shower, washing machine and sinks for toilet flushing and to water the garden. A smart water butt also connects to the Hydraloop to capture any excess water from the house.

Hydrorocks were placed under paved areas around the house to help with drainage and improve flood resilience.


Surface water is also being redirected from the highway during rainfall. It is stored, treated and re-used by the plants in the garden, meaning rainwater is kept out of the surface water drains.

Most plants have been chosen to encourage the health and population of “fundamentally important” pollinator insects.