A family home of Mr and Mrs Fox in the small Wiltshire village of Collingbourne Ducis, Marlborough, is setting the standard for eco-friendly housing.
The 300 year-old house has moved away from traditional oil-fired central heating systems and now benefits from an Ecodan air source heat pump system which uses free energy from the outside air to provide central heating and hot water.
Mrs Fox estimates that by converting to Mitsubishi Electric’s Ecodan system, the family should save around £500 a year on fuel bills, and reduce CO2 emissions from their house by 50%.
“We decided to look for an environmentally friendly alternative to our oil-heating system because it was proving costly, and as our village doesn’t have gas, we looked at alternatives such as wood, solar power and biomass-based systems, but many of these proved difficult to operate,” she explained.
“We are an environmentally aware family and try to do our bit, recycling as much as possible and insulating the house to the highest standards to preserve energy; so when we found Ecodan it made environmental sense, promising energy savings and lowering our carbon footprint.
“The Ecodan unit that is kept outside the house is a similar size to an old-style boiler, but it’s much quieter than our old oil-fired one and doesn’t blow out foul-smelling fumes,” said Mrs Fox.
“Since converting, we have a much more even temperature throughout the house and no longer suffer from drafts. The heat seems to be much gentler and there are copious amounts of hot water – even for my two teenage children who seem to live in the shower!”
By using free energy from the outside air to provide space heating and hot water, Mitsubishi Electric’s Ecodan, the easy to install, low carbon alternative to a traditional gas or oil boiler, can dramatically reduce home running costs and CO2 emissions.
With a conventional gas boiler, one kilowatt of energy delivers less than one kilowatt of heat to a building. With an Ecodan heat pump boiler, one kilowatt of energy delivers a heat output in excess of 3 kilowatts – that’s a 300 per cent increase in energy efficiency – and that is set to grow as the technology develops.
The Ecodan unit runs off a normal domestic electric circuit and is easy to install, although Mitsubishi Electric stresses the need for modern levels of building insulation within the property to ensure the greatest efficiency, which is one of the reasons why the Fox household has worked so well.
The unit was installed by Wiltshire-based Ayres Plumbing and Heating who were one of the first to achieve Accredited Ecodan Installer status.
“Replacing our 15 year-old heating system with an Ecodan system meant that we were able to get rid of all the old water tanks and pipes in the loft, which also freed up a lot of space.
“To aid the system, we fitted large radiators throughout the house and have found that we haven’t needed to top our heating up with log fires as we would previously have done. We changed to Ecodan around five months ago and are expecting it to halve our bills.
“Our new system has created a lot of fascination and intrigue in the village as the majority of residents rely on oil-fired central heating systems which are proving more and more costly with fuel prices ever rising. I think it is highly likely that other houseowners will convert in the next few years,” Mrs Fox concluded.
The average UK household produces over five tonnes of CO2 per year with space and water heating accounting for more than 73% of this - Ecodan can cut these emissions by up to 50%. However, this energy that surrounds us - a key sustainable resource - doesn’t currently factor into many people’s thinking.