On 26/26th March there was the Surrey Ecohomes open weekend when 30 houses across Surrey opened their doors to help demonstrate practical applications of eco-technology ranging from solar electric and wood stoves to energy efficient insulation and rainwater harvesting. Three of the open homes were here in Ashtead and a range of local and not-so-local visitors came through on pre-arranged tours of the individual houses to see what was on offer.
In Ashtead, one of the homes was showing three different types of solar technologies – solar electricity, solar hot water, and a passive solar garden room. The latter of course is nothing new – a well-insulated room that has lots of south facing windows – but it is certainly able to provide warmth into the rest of house on a sunny winter’s day. The solar room replaced an earlier conservatory that was too hot in summer and too cold in winter. The room is now usable at least ten months of the year with minimal additional heat input.
Elsewhere around the county the 175 or so visitors went to homes showing solar technologies, upgraded loft insulation, double and secondary glazing, wood-burning stoves and air and ground source heat pumps.
Whatever else catched your imagination, the important advice before you start thinking about installing any of the renewable energy technologies is to get the insulation and energy efficiency of you home up to standard first –it’s the best investment.