Somerset Green Homes: Sarah and Richard’s story

Richard standing next to heatpump
Richard standing next to heatpump

Retired couple Sarah and Richard moved into their South Somerset home in 2018. Keen to do something to help avert the climate and biodiversity crisis they set about improving the energy efficiency of their home.  

“We love our children and want them to have a future to look forward to. No country or person can solve these problems alone – we each have a role for better or worse.” 

Keeping the heat in

Their home is a detached, east-facing, 3-bedroom house built with reconstituted stone in 1969/70. Having installed an air source heat pump in their previous property they were keen to install one in this one, however, it was important that they improved the levels of insulation first.

They benefited from the property already having cavity wall insulation installed, however the loft insulation was not sufficient. So, in October 2018 they replaced the existing insulation with 8cm of insulation board between the joists enabling them to board it over and use the area for storage as well improving the thermal performance. In November they had double glazed windows and doors fitted throughout the property, and one year after this they also had new/adapted curtains fitted.

The air source heat pump was installed in October 2020 utilising the existing, albeit upgraded, radiators to provide heating in the property. Unfortunately, thy were not able to qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive, due to not having replaced all their radiators. 

Generating their own electricity

In December 2018 they installed 5.4kw of solar photovoltaic panels on their roof, alongside a battery system for storage. This set up, now with the use of the air source heat pump along with their electric car, has meant they are no longer reliant on fossil fuels. Last year they generated over 4,000kwh of electricity from the solar panels, and imported only 30% of the electricity of an average house. 

Helping wildlife thrive

Keen to make their ¼ acre garden a place for wildlife to thrive, they created a small pond, planted 220+ native hedge whips and native trees and two different mini wildflower meadows. They also installed nest boxes, bat boxes and a hedgehog feeding station. Richard and Sarah have since been enjoying watching the birds, bees and butterflies using their garden. 

Somerset Green Open Homes webinars

Richard and Sarah took part in the first in a series of live webinars, talking through the eco improvements they have made, and what they might have done differently if they were to do it again. You can view it below:

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