A new home with no space heating?
With the assistance of a local Architectural Consultant, DK Meldrum Ltd, Mr Carle’s 200m2 property was designed and approved for planning and warrant in February 2014. Work commenced that month on the self-build project, which was completed in November 2014. The timber-framed property was built on an insulated concrete base and the timber frame specially designed to cut out thermal bridging and draughts by using an offset arrangement.
Mr Carle used a variety of specialist contractors to install a range of technology in his home, which has no boiler or traditional space heating system. Kishorn Insulations installed 200mm of Icynene insulation to the walls and roof trusses and Russell Timber Technology supplied triple glazed timber alu-clad windows. Bancon Construction Ltd supplied and fitted a 4KW ground mounted solar panel system and solar thermal panels to supply hot water. The heat recovery and ventilation system was supplied by Envirovent, and North East Boiler Sales and Services Ltd installed a wood burning stove in the lounge. Mr Carle also installed low voltage lighting and energy efficient appliances to compliment his renewables.
It was quite easy to choose installers because of Mr Carle’s work experience and background knowledge. He did find additional information from Home Energy Scotland specialists very helpful, especially visiting other Green Homes Network properties. Home Energy Scotland also helped Mr Carle apply for an interest-free home renewables loan for his solar PV system.
Mr Carle is seeing a noticeable difference on his energy bills compared to his previous home. He used to pay £180 in energy bills every month, but now he pays less than £800 for the whole year. Also, only having one bill makes it much easier to control the household’s energy consumption. In addition, he gets quarterly payments of £140 from the Renewable Heat Incentive and just over £500 per year from the Feed in Tariff for the generation and export of electricity. As Mr Carle puts it, they are “as close as they can be to having a property with virtually no running costs.”
As the house is now very efficient, Mr Carle doesn’t have immediate plans to install anything else. However, he is switching his utility supplier to Our Power as they will fit a pilot smart meter that recognises the solar generation, which many earlier models of smart meter don’t. He is also interested in purchasing an electric car and possibly Tesla powerwall batteries to store solar energy in the future, and will look to take advantage of funding and support from Energy Saving Trust for this.
Mr Carle’s advice before installing renewables is to insulate your house well, so that you can see savings from the technologies in the long term. He says, “If utility costs go up in the future, you are future proofing your home by having adequate insulation and renewable technologies.” Mr Carle especially underlines the benefits of solar thermal in combination with the right insulation, saying “It is a low maintenance system and provides 70% of our annual hot water use!”
We'll revisit Mr Carle soon to check up on the running costs...