A large, end of terrace Victorian home benefitting from a range of improvements including solar thermal, a log burner, draught-proofing and DIY secondary glazing as well as a huge range of green lifestyle options. This is a must-visit property for anyone interested in making green improvements to their home or who wishes to marvel at some thorough inventive DIY improvements!
The owners have described below the improvements and lifestyle changes that they have made to their property:
This is a Victorian semi detached house, and originally had gas lights, coal fires in all the rooms, so lots of draughty chimneys, a wash house with copper at the back, etc. It was built with no bathroom. We bought the house in 1974, by which time, it had electric lights and oil fired central heating, and a bathroom. The gas had been disconnected some time earlier.
We installed gas again in about 1976, as North Sea gas was becoming cheaper than oil, and the boiler had gone wrong! However after many years in our draughty house, we began to think we should try to be more "Eco-friendly!"
We signed up with what is now Good Energy in about 1997, when it was being advertised by the Liberal Democrats! It was then called Unit(e) I think.It
sells renewable electricity. We installed an electric shower in the bathroom. Robin shaves with a kettle of hot water, which saves water and energy, I think!
We installed Solar thermal tubes on the roof in 2003. There are very long, inefficient water pipes in this house. We frequently do the washing up in the back, laundry room, where the water comes directly off the hot water tank. We talk about having a shower in the same place, to use the hot water more efficiently!
We installed a wood-burning stove in 2009, and the sitting room, which faces south, is now very comfortable and warm. Robin has moved his "office " there. The computer was previously in the workshop; a cold room at the north end of the house.
Our policy is to only heat the parts of the house that are needed (shutting doors and turning off radiators). Robin likes inventing things, and has made internal double glazing out of plastic sheets and wood frames. He has also devised a draught excluder for the front door, and a mechanism to shut the kitchen door automatically!
This year, we installed a radio thermostat, which make it easier to monitor the temperature of the radiators.We don't keep the house very warm. We wear warm clothes, and sometimes I put a rug round my knees if I am sitting still for a long time! There are still lots of things we could do. Robin monitored our use of electricity and gas a few years ago. I will try to have another effort, to see how we are doing.
Living in Truro, we can save energy by walking and cycling the short distance to shops, etc. We do have a car, but we share it occasionally with a friend who has given up her car.
We have quite a big garden, with large trees which are good for the environment generally! Also compost heaps and an attempt at growing fruit such as apples, rhubarb, blackberries, herbs. We have an organic vegetable box delivered from a local farm.
We have never had a tumble drier. We have a washing line, and various old fashioned airers inside.
Also, we have a front door bell that Robin invented (it uses no electicity) and there is an old-fashioned knocker! So we are almost still a Victorian house!