20 Oct 2022 - 31 Dec 2023
Welcome to South View. It was built in 1928 and there are a few challenges in turning it into a more sustainable house, but we’re trying!
We had 16 Sanyo Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels (with a total installed capacity of 3.76 kW) installed 11 years ago, which has been extremely worthwhile, and we are now looking into more efficient ways of using this energy. When it is sunny and we are at home, we use it to charge our electric car via a mains lead, although we do have a Pod Point for faster charging at other times (with a lower tariff rate currently at night, for this purpose). Our PV installation cost £14K but we covered the cost of this within seven years by feed in tariff (FIT). The scheme is now much less generous, but the price of solar installation has come down considerably. And we generate about 4500 kWh of free electricity per year (average of 12kWh per day).
We try to use our solar PV energy efficiently which means thinking about the timing of using appliances and are also using the slow cooker and bread maker more, as it is better than turning on the oven. Despite this we export much of our electricity and could use it to better effect within the house with the use of a device such as an Eddi (which would divert surplus electricity to a hot water tank) or a Zappi (which unlike our Pod Point could charge our electric car only when we have free surplus generated electricity).
We also have a Solar Thermal array (with 20 Barilla glass evacuated tubes) which helps with our hot water needs by directly heating our hot water tank, via a closed loop system and a glycol/water mix. This cost £4K eleven years ago.
We are planning to put more insulation into our attic and are considering installing an Air Source Pump in the future.
We have a simple water diverter to send our bath water into a water butt which was especially useful this summer during the drought. We have 3 rainwater butts, one of which we save for our wildlife pond in case it needs topping up during very dry weather.
The pond is the best thing we ever did in the garden as we have had so much more wildlife since creating it in the first lockdown.
We garden organically and have an allotment in the village also which is a No-Dig plot where possible. All weeds are composted including nasties like bindweed which is rotted in water first, in order to save their high nutrient content.
We enjoy the challenge of finding new ways to make our home more efficient; there’s always more we can do!