Monday, 8 November 2010

Public turns up to see how Juliet turned a small cold dark house into a SuperHome

The day of our first superhome opening began with a final burst of frenetic cleaning of windows and floors, and praying for some sunshine to show off the passive solar gain. It was our lucky day: we were rewarded with plenty of sunshine and a steady trickle of visitors, all keen to do energy saving on their properties.

A WI member brought her husband; some neighbours interrupted their Sunday lunch for a curious glimpse; another neighbour with horribly high electricity bills was looking for tips. Later the sustainability officer from the council turned up with her colleague from the Energy Saving Trust – both young and passionate about their jobs (must be, working on a Sunday!) and keen to align with us as their local “energy champions”.

It was amusing to see some reactions when they walked in the house, which is often called a Tardis. It’s a 100-year-old terraced house that looks tiny from the outside but when you enter it’s spacious and flooded with light. Some anticipated a new build: “I was expecting to see a spanking new eco house!” commented a local reporter who was clearly pleasantly surprised and interested. He even gleaned some tips on insulation and where to get biomass for his stove.

Journalists from the local press and Anglia TV interviewed the whole family, including 11-year old Callum who rose to the challenge. There was much amusement as everyone watched the TV reporter do her piece to camera demonstrating the energy monitor with Callum by switching the kettle on, only to be interrupted for the third time by the dog barking at the next arrival.

Our visitors came from as far as Burnham on Crouch and Manningtree, some 20 miles away, having read an article about us in one of the local papers. Word also passed through the transition town networks, some great nation-wide initiatives that are making communities more resilient to peak oil and climate change.

Although we stressed the money-saving benefits in our publicity about the superhome, hoping to attract some of the un-energy-savvy locals many of those who turned up didn’t need convincing, they were already planning or doing green measures on their own properties and looking to share ideas with like-minded people. Let’s hope at least some of them can become future superhomers to join the growing network. Our immediate target: 100 by March next year.

See This Sunday you can visit Juliet's SuperHome and How to turn a small, cold, dark house into a SuperHome

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