Thursday, September 15, 2005
Here goes - the creation of a new blog focusing on a Sustainable Suburbia - or should that be Sustainia?
I live 20 miles south of London in a 1905 brick built semi-detached house. I am slowly renovating the house to make it more in keeping with sustainable energy practices.
Elaine and I have lived here since Summer 2000, but it is only this year that we have really started to make some improvements to the property. These can be found detailed from the link on the right.
Loft insulation has been much improved and since 2000 the heating bills have been cut by 30%.
I have kept a log of all electricity and gas consumption since August 2000, and the trend has been significantly downwards for the gas. However I am using more electricity than previously, because for the last two and a half years I have worked from home, and PCs use a suprisingly large amount of electricity when left on.
This summer, a small extension has been added to the north facing rear quarter of the house which significantly improves the size and layout of the kitchen and bathroom.
Underfloor heating using hot water now heats the kitchen and bathroom with higher efficiency than the old radiators. All outside walls, floors and ceilings have been insulated to exceed the current minimum requirements of building regulations.
Hot water pipes have been properly insulated and no longer run through the cold concrete floors.
A new condensing gas boiler has been fitted in order to achieve even greater fuel savings. This is important because we have experienced gas price increases of over 50% in the last 5 years. The old backboiler used 6kWh of gas just keeping the pilot light on - the new one will heat the hot water tank for half an hour in the morning and evening on the same amount!
A 20 tube evacuated solar water heating panel was added in June and a better insulated hot water tank. On Sunny days this has heated the hot water adequately for bathing or showering, but significantly reduces the need for firing the boiler to heat up the water.
This Autumn will see the installation of a wood fired boiler in the living room, as a cosy way of keeping the core of the house warm and helping to make the property less reliant on gas and shift the fuel focus towards renewables.
More ambitiously, a waste vegetable oil powered combined heat and power system is planned using a 50 year old Lister diesel engine, housed in the shed.
See www.powercubes.com/listers for details.
I would be interested in corresponding with others who are working along similar lines.
Redhill, Surrey, UK