Eco terrace holds key to a greener future

ECO HOUSE l/r:  Wendy Bussey,  Emily Cresswell and Jim Hawksworth of Groundwork Sheffield outside the energy saving house at Robey Street, Sheffield.     24 May 2011

ECO HOUSE l/r: Wendy Bussey, Emily Cresswell and Jim Hawksworth of Groundwork Sheffield outside the energy saving house at Robey Street, Sheffield. 24 May 2011

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IT DOESN’T much look like a home of the future but this terrace house at Fir Vale is one of the most energy-efficient homes around.

Roof-mounted solar panels fitted to generate electricity and heat water are among a number of eco improvements made to the property on Robey Street, which is owned by Sheffield Council.

Lord Mayor of Sheffield Coun Sylvia Dunkley was invited to take a tour around the eco-home, which has been created as an example to show how traditional houses can be made energy-efficient.

The three-bed house runs so well its energy bill is set to shrink by 67 per cent, from £1,476 a year to just £483.

Coun Dunkley visited during an open day run by environmental charity Groundwork Sheffield. Its Green Doctor energy experts will lead tours for visitors, and explain how the house has been altered.

The terrace features roof-mounted solar panels for heating hot water and generating electricity. Lambs’ wool is used for insulation under the floors and in the cellar.

The walls are fitted with a heat-retaining material called Spacetherm which is much thinner than traditional insulation but highly efficient.

Groundwork business manager Wendy Bussey said: “The eco-terrace now has a tiny carbon footprint as CO2 output has reduced from seven to one-and-a-half tonnes.

“Its Energy Performance Certificate rating has risen from E to A – the highest level.”

Green Doctors showed members of the public how easy it is for anyone to save money on home energy bills by fitting low-cost measures such as reflective radiator panels, draughtproofing and cellar insulation.

They also fielded questions and gave tips on smarter energy usage.

Groundwork is planning future activity sessions for schools where pupils will act as energy detectives, scouring the house for evidence of power-saving measures.

A ‘self-sufficiency’ garden is in the pipeline too, enabling pupils to grow vegetables and herbs.