I’ve had a previous environmental role as a profession and now work as a sustainability officer with the local authority. My wife is an academic and we have two teenage children. Together we’ve been on quite a long journey. About 15 years ago I went to a conference full of so-called ‘sustainability experts’ who simply weren’t doing enough sustainable things themselves. I felt it was rather hopeless if the experts weren’t leading by example, so I started to search for alternatives and to consider what I could do by questioning more completely my relationship with my environment, growing my own food, reducing waste and so on. I started collecting data and bills to see the shape of our energy consumption and carbon footprint. My first probing into renewables at home was over ten years ago when we installed the solar thermal on the roof then, more recently, we had the PV fitted. Renewables can have quite an effect on energy consumption but only if accompanied by behavioural change by the whole family within the home.
Environmental first, cost savings second. The outcome has been a wonderful return on investment.
Originally two farm-workers’ cottages (circa 1900s–1930s)part refurbished in 2003 and bought as a single detached property.
Increase thermal comfort and improved quality of life with a year on year reduction in water and energy use. We have a conventional oil fired boiler with a radiator system but this is used only very sparingly to heat what is generally preheated water from the solar thermal system. From what would be circa a minimum £1,600 oil and electric, based on the fact the property is larger than the average (£1,400 if gas and electric), we have saved (and continue to save) circa £900 per year. This is based on current costs. In its first year, solar PV has led to a 45% reduction in electricity costs and a bill of £15-20 per month.
Cost and carbon reductions, a feel good factor and a “active” (wood processing burns the calories!) quality of life.
Sustainable wood burning and solar hot water…
Working with other owners of SuperHomes to try to create an informal network within the Vale of Aylesbury.
Not a business but a local voluntary initiative: SAVE (Support Aylesbury Vale’s Environment) is an active network of 150+ individuals. Many of these represent local community groups with Transition, environmental, waste, energy, conservation, economic, and social community interests, with a direct voice into local communities within the Vale.
Launched in 1994, SAVE operates to recognise, reward and encourage environmental good practice in Aylesbury Vale and includes an active membership of over 100 local environmental groups and active individuals within the Vale. SAVE is working to encourage SuperHomes to the Vale with a goal of ten by the end of 2013.