Eco-renovation for the good of all beings

Compost Full Moon

We’re so lucky. Not everyone has both the opportunity and the means to make their dream come true. In just a few weeks’ time, I will be able to dedicate myself to it full time.

In the first instance, the dream is to create a home for ourselves that is as energy efficient as we can make it and has the lowest possible impact on the environment.

Alex would explain his reasons for this in terms of peak oil and the likelihood of fuel insecurity in our near future. He would also mention climate change and the importance of reducing our fossil fuel use so we don’t make its effects even worse than they would be already.

I agree completely with all of that, but I would go further. In order for us to survive and keep thriving as a species on this planet, we need to find ways to co-operate with our environment. We need to learn how to live and work together with the beings around us. We are all intricately connected and dependent on each other for our well being. To me, the Westacre project is an attempt to work with the resources of Nature, material and spiritual, to create a life of beauty and abundance.

From the very first thoughts about renovating that particular house, the wood burner featured as its living heart, keeping it warm. The house will be heated by a wood burning stove with a back boiler, which will provide hot water and run the central heating. In Summer, there will be backup from a solar hot water panel on the roof.

In order for that to work well, we need to make some drastic alterations. We need to install underfloor heating, which works best with lower water temperatures. This will involve taking up all the floors downstairs and pouring lots of  concrete. And in order to stay warm, we will need external wall insulation and the best modern windows we can afford. We will also need a ventilation system that will pre-heat air coming in from outside.

If we could afford it, it would probably be easier to just build a passive house from scratch, rather than trying to retrofit all this into a 30s house. We’re not that rich, however.¬†We intend to do much of the work ourselves, with some help from friends. It will take a long time, probably well over a year, but it will be so worth it. We will be working with the sun to keep us warm, so we won’t have to use too much wood. We won’t be adding to CO2 emissions, so will minimise our contribution to climate change.

When it is finished, our home will be beautiful to look at. It will also be in harmony with the land it stands on, with the air that surrounds it, and with the sun that shines down upon it. Hopefully, it will become a peaceful haven for all who visit.

If you would like to learn more about how all these elements work together, click here to visit the Project news on the Westacre web site. As our project evolves, we will be explaining every step of the process.

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