Three green homes – the ultimate lifestyle choice to cut your carbon footprint
How green is your home? The scale ranges from the unimproved, draughty pile, right through to the purpose-built eco-home (turf roof optional).
Most of us live somewhere in between, although it has to be said, that’s not usually very near the green end of the spectrum.
Most new homes take a lot of energy to build, and so create a large footprint at the outset which subsequently shrinks over time as the energy-saving effects of superior insulation kick in.
Old homes often work in the opposite way. The carbon cost of their construction is lost in the mists of time, but they tend to be draughty and poorly insulated, and so take more heating.
The most environmentally sustainable homes on the market are newbuilds with an ‘outstanding’ BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating.
But ever more people are realising that environmentally-friendly homes are not only a good idea from an ideological point of view, but that they can also end up costing much less, so many are upgrading older homes too through the addition of various ‘add-ons’.
Air-source heat-pumps, for example, extract warmth from the air and can result in energy savings of up to 40 per cent, while ground-source heat-pumps, which use heat from the soil, can reduce energy bills by as much as 60 per cent.
The following properties all have something to recommend them to househunters looking to cut their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint.
In Harrogate, 3 Holly Garth has been built in line with Passivhaus principles and is one of the very few EPC double A-rated houses in the area. All heating and hot water is delivered by a Panasonic heat pump, and the highly air-tight environment is ventilated with heated fresh air, filtered of dirt and pollen. Estimated annual energy costs are a paltry £323.
It has five bedrooms, four bathrooms, open-plan living kitchen, utility room, sitting room, study and plenty of loft storage space.
Within walking distance of Harrogate town centre, The Chapel is a stunningly opulent conversion of a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel built in 1896. Its unusual layout includes six bedrooms, six bathrooms, dining room, library, breakfast kitchen, orangery, vast double-height living room (including pulpit) and even his and hers drawing rooms.
There’s also underfloor heating heated by a biomass boiler and a heat-recovery system, as well as CCTV.
Finally, The Coach House in Ripon is a conversion of an old property belonging to Ashley House and won an award in 2009 for the Best Sustainability Project in Ripon. Its EPC rating is 79 per cent – a high ‘C’.
It has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, open-plan kitchen, dining and living room, plus double garage with loft storage, off-street parking, and sizeable gardens. There is underfloor heating throughout the ground and first floor, which is powered by a ground-source heat-pump.