This weekend marks the end of Low Carbon Oxford Week. There have been a wide range of events taking place to celebrate all things green and to encourage others to help to make Oxford one of the greenest low carbon cities.
We got involved primarily through the Oxford Green Open Homes event, opening our doors to the public to show what we have done to reduce our energy use. We had about 30 people visit and happily they all seemed to be inspired by what we have done.
With most of the work on our ambitious zero carbon refurbishment complete we can at last start to enjoy our ‘new’ home. Of course we won’t really appreciate the super insulation, the wood burning boiler stove, the under floor heating or the triple glazed windows until the winter months but there is much that we can appreciate now.
As I write this post my desk is lit by one of the new generation of LED globe bulbs that look very similar to the old incandescent bulbs. It is so much better than the compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) that we have been using for many years. It is 10 watt warm white dimmable equivalent to a 55 watt filament bulb and is predicted to last 30,000 hours. At say 3 hours use a day this is 27 years before it needs changing.
Quality of light
On the ground floor we have used two different types of LED downlighter. In the kitchen area and hall we have used the ZEP1 5 watt integrated fitting from ecoLED. These are dimmable and give off a great quality of light.
Our architect suggested using downlighters to wash the walls with light. To achieve this effect we are using some fire rated GU10 fittings that can tilt to adjust the beam. These are fitted with Falcon LED 5 watt single chip dimmable bulbs.
We have pendant lights over the dining table with Verbatim LED Classic A B22 10W bayonet bulbs. We plan to make some home made light shades with metal colanders from a charity shop.
The light our children like most is the LED strip light on the stairwell. For a bit of fun we have a coloured strip light that has a remote control with a wheel offering any colour from the rainbow. Thanks to the dormer window at the top of the stairwell we get an amazing glow of colour shining out from our top window at night.
Hansgrohe quality and function
Another aspect that we are enjoying is our shower. With the sunny weather recently our solar thermal panels have been working hard filling up our 300 litre cylinder with hot water. One day the water got up to 85 degrees in the top of the tank. Even though our water is heated for free by the sun we still want to use it cautiously as it may be a cloudy day tomorrow.
The EcoSmart taps and showers from Hansgrohe offer a great combination of quality and function. Thanks to the aerating widget the flow rate is reduced without compromising on the experience. The shower is 9 litres/minute and the basin tap is just 3.5 litres/minute.
Our downstairs loo and shower room is not quite finished. We had a lovely Italian tiler who did a great job with the large porcelain tiles. We were very lucky to have found the floor tiles in a skip and we chose some mosaic and wall tiles to complement the floor. The shower will be fitted this week leaving us with just the shower screen to get before we finally test it all out.
One of the challenges of this project has been sourcing the right products at competitive prices. We spent ages researching products and suppliers to try to find what we wanted. In relation to showers, taps and LED lighting we were very pleased to find SaveMoneyCutCarbon. They offer a great range of products that fulfil our needs in relation to both efficiency, aesthetics and price. http://oxfordgreenhouse.co.uk/resources/
Read more about the Oxford Green House:
Oxford Green House – pathfinder for zero carbon homes with style and substance http://www.savemoneycutcarbon.com/2014/03/oxford-green-house-pathfinder-zero-carbon-homes-style-substance/
The Oxford Green House energy efficient pathfinder home takes shape http://www.savemoneycutcarbon.com/2014/03/oxford-green-house-energy-efficient-pathfinder-home-takes-shape/
Oxford Green House website: http://oxfordgreenhouse.co.uk/