Anyone who has undertaken a building project knows that sometimes it can be quite a challenge. Very few of us actually get to design and build our dream home although many of would love to. Yes the project is very fulfilling and lots of fun but it is also sometimes very frustrating. Many problems involved with the build can involve financing the project, finding your ideal plot and meeting building regulations. However a couple from East Cowton in North Yorkshire have built their ideal green home by overcoming all of these issues. On top of this they sourced and imported all state of the art materials that enabled them to label their home the ultimate green house. The house uses the smallest amount of energy possible and is so energy efficient that it even produces energy.
The couple Paulette and David Benjamin found the perfect plot to build their eco home in 2006 and in 2008 their dream came true when they were able to move in. David, an American, studied architectural engineering at the University of Colorado. In the US he had undertaken lots of renovations and house builds but never built a house that heated and cooled itself until this one.
It was named Wild Wood House and from the outside it looks like any other home but inside it is extremely different. Firstly the house is extremely insulated so that there are no gaps and fresh air is created through mechanical ventilation. 70% of the heat in the house is generated by the sun and the remaining 30% is sourced from the back boiler where they burn wood and use gas to cook. David also explains how they make their own electricity and sometimes have enough left over to feed back into the National Grid. To help them reduce their energy needs the couple spent hours searching the internet for all of the latest innovations. In order to meet these needs, a lot of things had to be imported from countries such as Germany, Sweden and Japan. These countries are much more advanced in their green technologies.
The main thing about the house is its insulation. The exterior walls are all double skinned and insulated with seven inch foam, added to that is a reflective foil vapour barrier. The seven inch foam insulation can also be found in the roof cavity too with eight inch foam insulation underneath the concrete floor. Both the windows and doors are triple glazed and had to be imported specially from Sweden. The doors also have extra weather stripping and an airlock entry system which prevents cold air from entering and also prevent hot air getting out. All windows face south with an awning on the south side of the house so that in the winter the sun can come in but in the summer it can be used to stop overheating. The awning also has photovoltaic panels to make the most of the south facing position. It is hoped that these panels will provide the couple with all the electricity that they need. The roof has been fitted with enough solar panels to provide the couple with enough hot water which is stored in a 1,000 litre tank. The tank supplies the showers, under-floor heating and radiators. Then lastly the wood burning stove with back boiler and heat pump which takes the heat out of the air. This is to keep the water in the tank hot and operates the same way as a fridge but in reverse.
Everything in the house is aimed at conserving energy even down to the light switches. Each room has a double light switch, if switched off it turns off every appliance in the room in one go.