The house was built in 1930’s originally and we extended it in 2018, shortly after we moved. As part of the extension work, we prioritized reducing the footprint of the build and designing the new spaces to reduce use of power, heat and lighting. Key to this was to move the house ‘upside down’ bringing living rooms onto the first floor with associated heating and light savings. Our bedrooms are on the ground floor, which are cooler. This will become particularly important during heat waves.
The heating system still has a condensing boiler, but with three zones to minimise what we use. These are programmed to heat different rooms at different times of days, e.g. bedrooms in the evening. In the future we’ll aim for a heat pump.
The house has 3kW of solar PV installed across East, South and West facing roofs – something which will be more important in the future. The system is able to provide power early in the morning and later in the evening, when it is most needed. Some of our excess solar power is diverted via an iBoost into the hot watertank, which means over the summer the solar also provides all the household’s hot water needs.
We also installed a rainwater harvester that provides water for a downstairs toilet and washing machine. We also have a very low tech ‘grey water’ solution which can be used in drought periods for the garden. Our Wessex water bill tells me that as a young family of four we have lower water usage than a typical one-person household.
Within the extension we prioritized reuse of materials including all doors, bathrooms, kitchens and reused bricks and rubble (to create a terrace) as well as buying eco-material and natural products such as bamboo flooring and wool carpets. Insulation is an ongoing project in the old part of the house, but we have new double glazing (aluminum which is recyclable), upgraded roof insulation (from recycled bottles), wall insulation (in new build), and hemp insulation for internal walls &ceilings.
We have already rewilded parts of the garden and planted new trees as well as a vegetable patch.
We still have lots of plans and the next step is to get an EV. When we rewired, we included cables to the front of the house that could be used in the future for an EV charger.