Monday, 20 September 2010

Mike visits The Recycled House

Mike Pepler, our UK Awards Manager, went to help out at an Old Home SuperHome open day. The programme is organised by the Sustainable Energy Academy, which won an Ashden Award in 2009, and includes over 50 homes open to visitors at various points during the year. The SuperHome that Mike helped at is The Recycled House, Camber, East Sussex.

The Recycled House has 2.1 kW of solar PV panels on the roof, feeding surplus electricity into the grid, and 7 m2 of solar thermal panels. The large amount of solar thermal is intended to provide a portion of the space heating during cold but sunny weather. It feeds into a 450 litre thermal store, up in the loft, which is also heated by an efficient woodburner.

The store supplies hot water and also runs underfloor heating on the ground floor. The upper floor has no heating - it is so well insulated, with external insulation as well as cavity wall insulation, that it should not need it - some heat will drift up from downstairs anyway.

Here's the owners, John and Helen:
They bought the house in January 2010, and have spent months since then renovating it. Their goal has been to create a practical and enjoyable living space, at the same time as reducing the environmental impact of the house as far as possible, and recycling all of the materials removed in the process - hence the name, "the Recycled House".

The weekend was busy, with almost 70 visitors over the days it was open, including neighbours, passers-by who saw the solar panels and the sign announcing the open day, and people who'd travelled specially to see what they'd done.

As each person left, they completed a survey to find out what they thought of the open day, and whether they were going to take action to reduce energy use in their own home as a result of visiting. This is one of the ways in which the Sustainable Energy Academy measures the impact of the programme.

There were some other visitors as well: a film crew from ITV Meridian News were doing a feature on "eco homes", which will go out in a couple of weeks. The cameraman took a range of still shots, including one of the woodburner:

and they also interviewed John and Helen to find out about their motivations and achievements.

To find out more about the Sustainable Energy Academy's Old Home SuperHome programme, visit the Ashden Awards website. To find out more about John and Helen's house, go to The Recycled House.

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