Somerset Green Homes: Murray and Nicola’s story

Murray and Nicola live in a medium-sized Victorian terraced house in Taunton. They have recently been able to extend the property. This has given them the opportunity to make some eco-friendly improvements. 

‘We are keen to live sustainably and to adapt our home to be environmentally friendly as far as possible’  

In 2013, when needing to replace the roof of the property anyway, they took the chance to install solar photovoltaic panels and sun tubes. The sun tubes allow natural light into the landing, which otherwise has no windows. The solar PV system was installed to reduce fossil fuel use and to obtain tariff income from supplying electricity to the grid. This has offset their electricity bills and now powers the electric car! 

Most recently they have improved the heat retention of the property by laying insulation under the floorboards. Preferring to use products that have a lower environmental impact, they used insulation that was 75% wool and 25% recycled plastic bottles. An additional benefit of using natural materials is that they can often be fitted without needing gloves or protective materials. This has already made Murray and Nicola feel warmer in the home, and now they rarely have the heating on.  

Other sustainable products they have chosen include recycled worktops and recycling bins in the kitchen. They have used environmentally-friendly paints and varnishes for the finishing. Natural woodworm and dry rot treatment have been used for the ground floor joists. All of these eco-friendly improvements products are free of harmful chemicals and solvents and don’t smell at all. They have been really successful in coming up with eco-friendly improvements to their home.

Outside, an electric car charging point has been installed after much research about planning permission and title deeds. The 7KW single-phase charging point has a facility to opt for charging only with surplus solar power. The wildlife gets helped along with a naturally-filled and populated pond. Their garden gets scythed once a year by Somerset’s reigning national champion scyther! 

You can hear more from Murray in the recording of the 4th Somerset Green Open Homes webinars below.

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