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Huntingdonshire District Council purchased the houses and refurbished them to demonstrate energy-saving measures that cut costs and carbon.

These include improved heating, lighting, insulation, appliances and sustainable drought-resistant gardens.

The Green House Project homes are open to the public for one year, after which they will be sold on the open market.

The district council teamed up with the Building Research Establishment to create the homes, which they hoped would convince the public that simple energy-saving measures could make a real difference to household bills and carbon footprints.

The St Ives house will be used as the flagship property for the project.

The 1960s detached house has been extended at the side and the rear, and demonstrates sustainable improvements including a bio-diversity roof, rainwater harvesting and triple glazing.

Meanwhile the house in St Neots, a 1970s semi-detached property, has been refurbished to show simple improvements that can be made for a relatively small financial outlay and applied to most homes.

Ordinary homes

Chris Jablonski, environment team leader at the council, said: “We’ve taken two ordinary homes that, at the time, weren’t designed with energy-efficiency in mind, and we’ve installed a number of measures to make them more airtight and less likely to leak.

“They’re now more efficient and in the process will save people money on their bills.”

Before the work began the total energy bill for the St Ives property was just over £1,000 per year. That has now been reduced by over £600.

“In carbon terms that’s a 75% saving, so we’re very pleased with that,” Mr Jablonski said.

The property has solar panels and a boiler to capture and deliver heated water. Its bio-diversity roof helps to insulate the property and, in the event of flash flooding, will absorb water and prevent the guttering from overflowing.

Not everything is as complicated, however. Many simple, low-cost measures have also been incorporated, such as draught proofing.

“That costs just a few pounds and you get a very quick pay-back,” said MrJablonski.

“This project is all about inspiring people to take small steps in the right direction.”

Sustainable gardens

Award-winning Cambridgeshire gardener Marney Hall designed the sustainable gardens at the front and rear of the St Ives property.

She was given a brief to create a bio-diverse space incorporating a wild meadow area, pond, woodland, hedgerows and a vegetable patch.

There are also butterfly borders and flowers that produce nectar for bees. Shelter is also provided for wildlife with bumble bee boxes and hedgehog homes hidden within the shrubbery.

Open days

MrJablonski said that an initial market valuation indicated that the two Green Houses were now worth substantially more than the council had paid for them, as a result of the improvements that had been made.

The Green Houses were officially opened on 29 October 2010 and will be open to the public for one year, from Saturday 6 November.

Entry is free and Huntingdonshire District Council plans to run a number of events throughout the year during which visitors can learn more about making their own homes more energy-efficient.

Details will be posted on The Green House Project website.

Source: articlebase.com wrote by Greencell Technologies House

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