Essex, Colchester, Alresford, Station Road
- New Double Glazing
- Loft insulation taken up to 270mm recommendation
- Floors lifted and sheep wool / Celotex insulation added
- Air to Air Heating System
- 4Kw Photovoltaic system installed
- 5Kw wood burner
- All low energy bulbs fitted
- Low energy appliances
- Waterbutts installed and plan for grey water recovery
- Whole house ventilation system
- Hard water treatment system
- Greenhouse and potting shed
- Allotment nearby
- Woodland access – firewood supply
Sue and Barry have a desire to live a simple life… which ironically takes a great deal of planning and time to achieve. Sue has turned her interests in gardening into vegetable and fruit production to try and produce as much food as possible for the family. Whereas Barry has undergone a complete shift away from office work into more outdoor pursuits such as woodland management, bushcraft and outdoor education. The couple have both completed courses in Permaculture and are using their Diploma journey as a means of changing their lives yet further.Motivations:
As the children have grown and moved on to the beginnings of their own lives it was time to downsize the house and increase the growing space. The need to be within an easy commute of Colchester gave the starting point of the search that ended with something neither of them expected to buy… a bungalow.
Train and bus services are literally a stones throw from the front door but it was the house itself that was the main draw. A south facing roof, no insulation and outdated means of heating in the form of storage heaters proved to be a good challenge to take on. Structurally sound but crying out for modernisation it was a project that could be tackled in stages.
Moving in to the property in April 2013 proved to be the right time as bitterly cold spring temperatures highlighted immediately how ineffective the existing heating was against leaky windows and suspended wooden floors. Just six months later and lots of hard work completed we were proud to gain the status of the 175th Super Home in the country.
The bungalow dates to the 1950’s but underwent extension during the 1980’s. Part of the extension work took the form of a flat roof add-on to provide an extra bedroom but all areas retained the format of a suspended wooden floor. The first viewing took place in January 2013 when the ground was thick with snow and the house had not been heated for several months. However, it wasn’t until we moved in during April 2013 in unseasonably cold weather that we appreciated the full extent of the work needed to make the house feel warm and comfortable.
The first item on the list was insulation, insulation and insulation. The Cavity Walls were checked to ensure they were up to standard. Then the loft space was insulated to the full up-to-date recommendations. And finally the task of lifting all the floorboards to insulate in between the joists was started. This work was all carried out during the summer of 2013 along with other items such as the installation of the new double glazing. As the heating system was going to be air based it was important to ensure as much heat as possible was kept inside.Benefits:
The house feels cosy and peaceful. All usual winter involves the Air to Air heating running from 7am until 4:30pm at a constant 19c. After this time we switch to the woodburner which operates from firewood that we collect and store several seasons in advance so it is well seasoned before use. The residual air temperature from the Air to Air system and the woodburner combined with the EcoFan that sits on top is enough to keep the house warm until bed time when all heating stops for the night.
Over the last few years we have been tracking the cost of bills and of course the Feed In Tariff gained from the Solar Panels. The result of all the work has been we are effectively living for free as the Feed In Tariff generates approximately twice as much revenue as our electricity bill.Favourite Feature:
The focal point of the house has to be the woodburner. It is something that has travelled with us between properties and we can’t imagine living without one. It gives a true feeling of life to bricks and mortar, and when you can source wood for free rather than buy it the benefits of heating your house for free is a warming sensation in itself.