Eco problems & solutions

10 Eco tips

Climate Change 
Permaculture principles
Self sufficiency principles
Economics & money

Reed bed

Collecting Rain

Solar gain greenhouse

Rocket stove

Garden beds

Sowing chart

Hens and bees
Rescuing bees from unusual places
Pond

Solar PV system

Solar thermal panel
Waste wood central heating

Wood fired cooking

wood fired bread /
pizza oven

Solar drier

Insulating our freezer
Economics & money

About us

Links
Holiday Flat
Green woodworking
Written pieces & articles
Installing off-grid solar 1
and part 2
Guardian Film about Lammas Eco Village
Drumdance website
Free solar panels?


Climate change, peak oil (limits to the available supply of oil) and overuse of other natural resources are facing us all with an unprecedented crisis.  Rosie and I believe in taking personal responsibility for the way we live and affect the world around us.
This site exists to follow our progress applying energy and water saving ideas to our house here in Clacton-on-sea in Essex UK, growing our own food and interacting with other with the same objectives.

  • We want to be as self reliant as possible without being fanatical.
  • We are structuring our house and garden on Permaculture principles
  • We are recycling grey water through a reed bed and collecting rain.
  • We use solar energy and waste wood wood to heat our water, our home and for cooking
  • We generate solar electricity to lower our use of mains power
  • We try to consume less and recycle more
  • We grow and eat our own vegetables, fruit, eggs, honey and logs and trade our surplus with others.
  • We are creating all of this ourselves (DIY) mostly from recycled materials.
  • We now have a woodland which we are coppicing to provide fuel and building materials
  • We now have a small electric car which uses the solar electricity for fuel.   See our blog for details
Our next open days are May (2014) Sunday 4th and Monday 5th 10.0am to 5.0pm each day. See www.greenopenhomes.net/ or http://www.superhomes.org.uk/ if you would like to visit at any time contact us for an appointment, click here for directions and details.

Rosie and I are celebrating passing our assessment to be a Permaculture Association LAND learning centre. This means that groups can obtain funding from the Permaculture Association to come and visit us here and see what we are up to.  We are looking forward to having (and learning from) lots of interesting visitors.

 If you want to visit us as a working or as a paying guest get in touch.  We have a three room unit to rent or trade. Also we are members of WWOOF and HelpX and you can visit us through those organisations as well, trading your labour for food and lodging.  We offer a friendly place to stay close to the sea where the focus is on low consumption and a return to some of the greener ways of living. 

We are proud to announce we have been assessed by the Sustainable Energy Academy as having made a 76% reduction in our home's carbon footprint.

Latest useful links and news:

Thinking about climate change? check this out link
University of Bath data on embedded carbon in building materials
Post Copenhagen report
Good news on CO2
Report on Antarctic ice melt
Lamas eco Village has finally won its planning permission (at the third attempt)
New report on peak oil giving 2013 as critical threshold

BBC report on sea level rise

 

 Completed work
  1. We have installed a wood-fired central heating stove and cooking range to make use of the plentiful supply of waste wood available in the nearby industrial estate.  We own a small piece of ancient woodland and are coppicing and re-planting the trees there
  2. We have installed a solar panel kit (20  vacuum tubes 1700mm long) from Solarsavings on eBay (Around 1000 for the complete kit, half the cost advertised by other suppliers!). 
  3. I have found a source of insulation off cuts in the industrial estate  and have used them to insulate our flat roofs.
  4. We have planted 30 willow cuttings from Willowbank - 4 varieties for comparison - 3 sorts of super willow and one for making baskets etc.  These arrived as unrooted lengths of willow shoots and have been planted at 1 meter spacing.  They have grown over two meters in the first year!
  5. We have built a rain water harvesting system and a grey water recycling system consisting of:
     - A surge tank to collect the water from the bath, washing machine and vegetable washing sink.
     - The reed bed: a combination horizontal and vertical gravel filter planted with reeds and rushes. We have dug out an old well which we are using to water the garden in the summer.
    These systems feed:
     - A leaky pipe watering system watering the polytunnel, dipping ponds  and fishpond.
     - A series of vegetable deep beds made from scrounged turf & soil, horse manure & scrounged roofing tiles for edging.
  6. We have completed a lean-to greenhouse obtained from Freecycle and using recycled concrete blocks from a demolition next door to give us solar gain and plant growing space, including a rock storage for excess heat recycling (now working well).
  7. 1.6 Kw solar PV (electricity generating) system -   We are using a battery bank to store the electricity, this give us some independence from the grid but we sacrifice some of the power because of losses in charging the batteries.  We also get a lower payment from the government.
  8. We have insulated our floors and flat roofs with insulation off cuts from the industrial estate - see pictures.
  9. We have bought an 8 acre woodland and are coppicing it to improve the habitat for wildlife and provide ourselves with logs and building timber.
  10. Just completed a four kilowatt PV system on our workshop roof, feeding in to the grid (and being paid for the energy we produce.)
  11. We have built a wood fired rocket stove in the greenhouse to extend the growing season.

Upcoming projects

  1. DIY solar water panel system
  2. Rainwater flushing system for the WC (see this article)
  3. Working in our woodland to coppice, plant trees and manage the woods to encourage wildlife.
  4. Continuing to develop our Permaculture garden

Contact: Chris Southall email


 


 

Atmospheric CO2 data and trend