Wood for warmth in the home
Living in a secluded Grade II listed house on the spectacular Acorn Bank estate in Cumbria may sound like a dream come true, but keeping a place like that warm can often lead to hefty energy bills and environmental costs.
Chris and Sara Braithwaite, who work and live together at Acorn Bank’s eighteenth century Miller’s House with their cat, two dogs and pair of sleepy tortoises, know this only too well. Last year, they finally took the plunge and swapped a coke guzzling rayburn for a cosy wood fired boiler at their home – and they haven’t looked back since.
Benefits of biomass
Gardener in charge, Chris, said they made the decision to install the greener energy system after seeing the benefits of a larger biomass boiler which was installed at the estate in 2014.
“For us it was just really confirmation that the system would work well,” Chris said. “The wood boiler is much easier to use, is less expensive in carbon and heats the house more effectively than the solid fuel rayburn we had before.”
The first green step is the hardest
Research by renewable energy company, Good Energy, has revealed that since installing renewable energy in their homes, 74 per cent of customers have gone on to invest in other energy saving measures, and more than half of those asked valued energy more and used it less as a result.
Chris agreed: “The first step is often the hardest to do, but once you’ve started you want to keep going forward rather than just resting on your laurels.
“We’ve also installed a wood burning stove in our front room and we have been thinking seriously about making some thermally lined curtains to keep the heat in,” he said. “And what we need to do now is look at the rest of the house and how it works.”
Natural tips for gardening out of season
As a gardener, Chris has also been putting his greener hands to good use by building manure hot beds. Made from tightly packed horse manure covered in a cloche, these heaps enable Chris and his team to grow salad crops out of season in a natural way.
“We are trying to be greener across the estate here,” said Chris. “People could build hot beds in their gardens at home too if they can get their hands on horse manure – of course, that’s if they’ve got a willingness to mess about with a pile of fresh muck.”
Thinking of taking your first green step?
Take a look at our energy saving advice tips.