Friday, 20 September 2013

Exemplar Rural Living Eco Home Unveiled

The grand unveiling of an exemplar rural living eco home took place in Weston Colville this week to demonstrate what life could be like in a home that has been transformed with some of the latest energy saving technologies.

As part of an investigation into the practicalities of installing energy efficiency upgrades to older and more rural Council properties, South Cambridgeshire District Council undertook a retrofit project on a property at 2 The Green, Weston Colville. After five months of work, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Chairman, Cllr David Bard, officially unveiled the property on Wednesday.

The house has been extensively refurbished to incorporate an air source heat pump, under floor heating, solar thermal tubes and a woodburner among other other energy reducing initiatives, together with modern monitoring equipment to measure the energy performance. Collectively, the work has improved the energy rating for the house from a D to a B and will reduce energy bills for the tenant by around 32 per cent.

During the project the Council gained experience in the practical, technical and procedural aspects of low-energy retrofitting. The house demonstrates that it is possible to achieve significant environmental improvements even in an old property with conservation constraints.

The work forms part of a £6 million investment programme – funded by rents collected from Council tenants - to install energy efficient insulation and heating systems in 670 Council houses by 2015. Improvements will be targeted to solid wall properties in villages where fuel bills are highest because no mains gas supply is available.

A number of pilot projects carried out in the district over the last year have already seen the installation of over 2,000 solar PV panels, 150 heat source pumps and the development of a seven year programme to fit external wall insulations on Council homes. Tenants who have benefited from these measures to date have seen their fuel costs drop significantly.

Cllr David Bard, Chairman for South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Energy consumption and fuel poverty are real issues for many people, especially those on low incomes, but by taking an innovative approach we can address these issues and make sure our homes are as environmentally friendly as possible.

“The project presents a real opportunity to find out how much energy can be saved adapting older homes. Coupled with our biggest building programme of new Council-owned homes in over two generations, this is an exciting time for the Council.”