Just turn up
Springfield house was built in 1989. When Yvonne and Grahame bought it in 2009, they set about making it a warmer and more efficient home. The couple also use land attached to the house to keep hens, and raise pigs and sheep. Grahame, following a long career in broadcast engineering, studied for an MSc in Renewable Energy from the Centre for Alternative Techology in 2007 and then worked as a solar panel installer around Bridport. His expertise allowed him to do some of the work himself and specify exactly what he wanted in the house
The cavity walls were filled with Graphite-coated polystyrene beads, and the roof insulation was thickened, at relatively little cost but with noticeable effects. The conservatory, which was too cold in winter and too hot in summer had its roof replaced with insulated slate. The rotten windows of the house were replaced with new double glazing units.
Next they installed solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof of the barn in two waves, allowing them to compare two different brands of panels. The generated electricity is used to charge the electric car and run domestic utilities.
They brought their solar thermal panel from their previous house, and this preheats the water which is stored in the first water cylinder. This is transferred to a second water heater where the heat is topped up by the ASHP if necessary.
The house had previously been heated with an oil burner, but they replaced this recently with an air source heat pump (ASHP). All the ground floors of the house were pulled up, thick insulation was fitted and underfloor heating was installed. The floor was replaced with engineered oak.
Rainwater from the barn is collected in a large water tank, and a small PV panel drives a pump on a timer to water the greenhouse automatically.
A Zappi electric car charger is used to charge the couple’s EV either from the PV panels or at a cheaper rate of electricity from Octopus, overnight.
The annex is available as a holiday rental : https://www.springfieldheaven.co.uk/
The work done on the house has produced an efficient home with very low heating costs and a tiny carbon footprint.