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
- We are
grey water through a reed bed and
- We use
energy and waste wood wood to heat our water, our home and
- 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 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
Our last open weekend generated over70 visitors see
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
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
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
Latest useful links and news:
Thinking about climate change? check
of Bath data on embedded carbon in building materials
Post Copenhagen report
Good news on
Report on Antarctic ice melt
Village has finally won its planning permission (at the third
New report on peak oil giving 2013 as critical
BBC report on
sea level rise
- We have installed a
wood-fired central heating stove
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
- We have installed a
solar panel kit (20 vacuum tubes 1700mm long) from
on eBay (Around
£1000 for the complete kit, half the cost advertised by other suppliers!).
- I have found a
source of insulation off cuts in the industrial estate
and have used them to insulate our flat roofs.
- We have planted 30 willow cuttings from
- 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!
have built a
rain water harvesting system
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
- A series of vegetable deep beds made from scrounged turf & soil, horse
manure & scrounged roofing tiles for edging.
- 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).
- 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.
- We have insulated our
floors and flat roofs with insulation off cuts from the industrial
estate - see pictures.
- 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.
- Just completed a four kilowatt PV system on our
workshop roof, feeding in to the grid (and being paid for the
energy we produce.)
- We have built a wood fired rocket stove in
the greenhouse to extend the growing season.
- Now using the old batteries from our electric
car to store solar electricity.
- New 500 watt solar system charging batteries
hoping to heat water wityh the electricity.
- DIY solar water panel system
- Rainwater flushing system for
the WC (see this article)
- Working in our woodland to coppice, plant trees and manage the woods to encourage wildlife.
- Continuing to develop our
Contact: Chris Southall