Wisbech eco home owners planning open day to help others to go green

Being green might not be as hard as you think. And now a couple who have spent 14 years converting a farm in the Fens into an eco-home are having an open day to show how they did it.

Tony and Stella Richardson hope to show other homeowners that there are things which can be done which really don't cost the earth.

The latest stage in their quest for a greener life has been to install a photovoltaic panel on the roof of a barn at their West Walton home, near Wisbech.

In just a year the system has generated more electricity than the couple can use.

So it's being sold back to the National Grid via the Government's Feed-in Tariff.

While the panels have been a success, a domestic wind turbine installed around five years ago has proved to be less of a hit although, said Mr Richardson, technology has moved on and newer ones may be more efficient.

The couple moved into the former county council-owned farm 15 years ago.

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Since then they have added a solar hot water system which is linked to a home-made rainwater harvesting system - an idea initially rubbished by the experts.

'It cost quite a bit because we made lots of mistakes, but it works well and I think it is still the only one of its kind anywhere in the country,' said Mr Richardson.

Using a system of harvesting, filtering and pumping, the rainwater is used for the washing-up, washing clothes and bathing.

A solar panel helps to provide the hot water and a solar pump circulates it, eliminating the need for mains electricity.

'Making yourself independent for energy and water is not as difficult or as expensive as you may be led to believe,' said Mr Richardson..

Green is easy, much of it is common sense with a bit of technical know-how and it's a lot of fun too.'

Aside from the water and elecricity issues, the couple are keen recyclers of just about everything and also grow their own vegetables.

They are members of the SuperHomes network which brings together those who have reduced carbon emissions by at least 60pc through an energy saving retrofit project, and are keen to share their experiences with others.

There will be guided tours at their home from 11am to 2pm on April 1, 2 and 3.

For further information or to book a tour, contact 01945 780761 or email the Richardsons at ingleside@ingleside2.plus.com .