Home energy consumption is responsible for 20% of the UK’s emissions. We wanted to create an Eco Home, and new headquarters for our business, that showcased how renewable energy can meet our domestic electrical, heating and hot water demands, to inspire homeowners to make the transition from fossil fuels.
Our family-run business, Limitless Energy, designs and installs domestic renewable energy systems across Swansea and South Wales, helping homeowners embrace renewable energy for a more sustainable future.
In our work, we hear many misconceptions around renewable energy in the home. Some people think it is financially out of reach, or that they need to have a very technical understanding of the technology being used. A lot of people struggle to understand how it could work in their own homes.
With this in mind, we built our own Eco Home in Mumbles to give local people a real home, like their own, that they could visit to see renewable energy in action. It allows them to see how the systems work on a day-to-day basis and the savings they make. The house is designed to debunk myths about renewable energy and help people feel confident and comfortable with eco innovations, while successfully demonstrating how fossil fuels are no longer required to meet any of our domestic energy needs.
The materials used in construction were very important to the overall sustainability of the house. We used bricks made of shredded pallet wood and crushed concrete dust, all reclaimed from landfill in South Wales. This ensured the house had only 30% of the concrete a traditional build would have to demonstrate it is possible to build without a heavy reliance on this carbon-emitting material.
We installed a ground source heat pump, which keeps the house fully supplied with heating and hot water at all times. The solar panels on the roof and battery storage allow the house to meet all of its domestic electrical needs too. The electric family cars then charge off any surplus power not being consumed by the house itself. The house produces more electricity than is needed domestically, so it is what we call a ‘carbon positive’ house.
As the house is also our new headquarters, there are also business energy demands to consider. To support our fleet of electric vehicles, we use a 100% renewable electricity provider and charge during the night to ensure our business miles are not negatively impacting the environment either.
As a renewable energy business, we like to lead by example and go the extra mile to support the cause that’s important to us. We believe very strongly in the impact of domestic energy on our planet, and we have seen first-hand the positive difference renewable energy systems can make to emissions. We are proud that our Eco Home is helping people to make that switch.
The best advice I can give to anyone looking to build a sustainable house, or make renewable energy improvements to their current home, is to take a long-term view.
It shouldn’t be seen as a quick fix for lower bills. It needs to be done for the right reasons - as an investment for your future, and for the future of the planet. I am always encouraged by how many people, especially young people, are now investing in carbon positive homes fit for future generations.
I always say to people that the best investment they can make in their home is not a new kitchen, it is renewable energy.
Secondly, make use of the green grants and incentives that are on offer from the government to help you get the most out of renewable energy at home. These schemes can make sustainable living open to everyone. It is also worth investing some time into understanding energy tariffs and how to make best use of them to maximise savings.
Please don’t be put off by the new technology available. You really don’t need an in-depth understanding of how the energy systems work to get the most out of them. They can offer you incredible insights into the energy savings you are making in the simplest of ways and there are organisations who can help you if you do need extra support. It should not be an obstacle to making the switch.
If you are undertaking a new build, it’s important to have the right design, installation and build team behind you. Having like-minded people with shared values on board will create the best foundation for a successful eco home like ours. It is worth taking your time to find the right people. I’d recommend looking at independent reviews online, as well as speaking to past customers to get recommendations, before making any commitments.
I’d also suggest sourcing materials locally wherever you can. There are some fantastic facilities and organisations in South Wales that offer recycled and salvaged materials that are ideal for creating greener homes, so be sure to do your homework to find what is available locally to you before looking further afield. This can dramatically cut your project’s carbon footprint.
- The growth in our business has marked the success of the Eco Home. It created something tangible that people can see before they invest, and we are installing more renewable energy systems than ever before.
- The collective savings in those homes in South Wales will be huge. An average traditional 3 / 4 bed home will, on average, use between 20-30,000 kWh per year. Domestically, we are only using between 5-6,000 kWh per year in the Eco Home and it is generating more than 8,000 kWh a year itself.