Pick up energy saving tips by visiting Purbeck’s eco homes

Residents in Swanage and across Purbeck are inviting others to come and see the measures they’ve taken to make their homes greener and more energy efficient.

At a time when the cost of energy is uppermost in many people’s minds, the Open Greener Homes event is happening across Dorset over the first two weekends in October 2022, with six homes to visit in Purbeck.

electric car at Eco home in Langton

Electric charging points on driveways has become more commonplace especially after the price of petrol and diesel in the UK rose dramatically over the summer

Lower your domestic carbon footprint

From air-source heat pumps and biomass boilers to solar panels and electric cars, it’s a chance for people to visit the homes, ask questions and get ideas on how to lower their own domestic carbon footprint.

This is the ninth year the Open Greener Homes event has taken place with a record 60 homes in Dorset to visit in 2022 including many new ones.

Poppy Maltby at Eco home in Langton

Poppy Maltby outside her house – rainwater from the gutter goes into a tank and is then used for the washing machine and to flush a loo. Poppy says her water bill is the same as a typical one bedroom flat

view from Eco home in Langton

The views from the upstairs living area, which naturally benefits from greater warmth and light than the downstairs

Created an upside down house

In Langton Matravers near Swanage, energy consultant Poppy Maltby is opening her 1920s detached home that she bought with her partner in 2017.

Although a work still in progress, Poppy has prioritised the installation of energy saving low carbon measures as she renovates the property. She said:

“The feature that I’m most pleased with, was the decision to create an upside down house with the bedrooms downstairs and the living area upstairs.

“More people need to be aware of how much lighter, brighter and warmer the upstairs is naturally and how much better suited the downstairs is for cooler, darker bedrooms.

“It really works for us, especially in this area, as we can take much more advantage of the sea views by having our living room upstairs.

“I’m also pleased with our water diverter that pipes bath water out into the garden, which was really good during the dry weather this summer.”

solar power point at Eco home in Langton

The solar power can be diverted to heat the water tank

Pipes at Eco home in Langton

Simply insulating the hot water pipes will save energy and money

Solar panels provide energy from sunrise to sunset

Poppy’s biggest investment was the solar panels that are placed on the roof, facing east, south and west to provide energy from sunrise to sunset.

The size of the roof on the side extension was especially calculated to provide enough space for the required panels.

Poppy added:

“We don’t have a battery to store the solar energy but I have an app that can divert the power to charge our electric Nissan Leaf car or our hot water when we don’t need it for electrical appliances, so it’s always getting used, although we can export the solar energy to the grid if we want to.

“The best advice I can give to anyone who wants to do something similar is to draw up a plan over five to ten years and then stagger the work over a number of years. I installed the electricity point for the car charger five years ago but we’ve only just been able to get an electric car.

“There’s still plenty more I’d like to do – I want to get a heat pump next!”

wood burner at Eco home in Langton

A wood burner with an oven has been installed but Poppy says it’s only used occasionally and really there as a back up to provide heating and a means to cook if there was a power cut or energy crisis

Induction hob at Eco home in Langton

Get gas out the kitchen – an induction hob is cheaper, more efficient to run and better for your health says Poppy

Where to visit for greener homes inspiration


  • Farndreg in Southcliffe Road – Saturday 1st October 11 am to 4 pm. It has installed solar panels and batteries through the Solar Streets scheme and is having an air-source heat pump installed later this year. No need to book, just turn up.

Langton Matravers

  • Bonnie Braes in Durnford – Sunday 2nd October 1 pm to 3 pm. A completely remodelled upside down house, saving energy by putting the bedrooms downstairs and the living space upstairs, plus solar panels powering heating, hot water and a Nissan Leaf car. Booking required.
  • South View in The Hyde – Saturday 8th October 10.30 am & 2.30 pm and Sunday 9th October 2.30pm. This property heats water with solar thermal panels and charges the car with electricity generated from photovoltaic panels. Bath water is diverted into a water butt and the owners garden organically. Booking required.

Worth Matravers

  • Windsong in Newfoundland Close – Saturday 8th October and Sunday 9th October 2 pm to 4.30 pm. It has solar panels, an electric vehicle and a very cost-effective air-to-air heat pump that does air conditioning as well as heating. No need to book, just turn up.

Corfe Castle

  • Challow Farmhouse in Sandy Hill Lane – Saturday 1st October 10 am to 11 am. The farmhouse has a biomass boiler fuelled by waste sawdust pellets, ample hot water for bed and breakfast guests from solar thermal roof panels, and a weather compensation heating control system that provides 30 percent energy savings over conventional thermostatic controls. Booking required.


  • Rosemary Cottage in New Road – Saturday 1st October and Saturday 8th October with tours at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. It has recently installed an air-source heat pump, taking advantage of the government grant, and has photovoltaic panels and an electric vehicle. No need to book, just turn up.
Insulation at Eco home in Langton

Alternative means of insulation – recycled plastic wadding for lofts (left) and hemp for rooves and floors (right) from natural insulation company Thermafleece

Further information

  • More about the homes with directions and how to book is on the Dorset Greener Homes website

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