Purbeck ploughs on with making homes greener

Homeowners in Purbeck who’ve reduced their energy bills and carbon footprint are opening their doors to inspire others to do the same.

Dorset Greener Homes is taking place for the 10th year with 40 homes set to open across Dorset from Saturday 23rd September to Sunday 1st October 2023 with five in Swanage and Langton Matravers.

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Darden at eco home

The garden and beehives at The Knapp in Southcliffe Road in Swanage

Live more sustainably

All the homeowners taking part have changed their homes and the way they live to be more sustainable. Measures include installing heat pumps, solar panels, water recycling, lifestyle changes and wildlife gardening.

For people thinking of making similar changes, homeowners are able to offer advice based on their experience, which can be very useful considering the large investment that some of the measures require.

Some homeowners require advance booking but others are happy for people to just turn up.

solar array at California meadows
California meadows

The newly installed solar array at California Meadows campsite

“Happy for people to come along and ask questions”

For the first time as part of the Greener Homes initiative, Karen Delahay from California Meadows campsite will be inviting people to view her ground-based solar panel array as well as her wildlife meadow. Karen said:

“I’ve installed 18 solar panels that sit in tubs on the ground, as has my daughter and son-in-law who live next door. They are a family of four and have been able to make it financially worthwhile by selling some of the excess electricity back to the grid via a feed in tariff.

“I’m still battling with Octopus Energy as it says it can’t pick up a signal to be able to work out a feed in tariff rate but I live next door! This is one of the challenges that you only find out about later, so I’m happy for people to come along and ask questions.

“On both the Saturday and Sunday afternoons I’m inviting people to join me on a walk around my fields and wildlife meadow. There’s 11 acres and I’ve been here 20 years.

“When I took over California Farm the fields had only been grazed, never ploughed. I’ve never used pesticides and now there’s plenty of wildlife including buzzards, swallows and deer. People are welcome to bring a picnic and enjoy the sea views.”

“I’ve also started a small archaeological exploration – with expert advice – after finding evidence of prehistoric life, so people may be interested to see that too!”

Farndreg solar panels
Purbeck Greener Homes

Farndreg, Southcliffe Road in Swanage

Knapp solar panels
Purbeck Greener Homes

The Knap, Southcliffe Road in Swanage

Bonny Braes eco home
Purbeck Greener Homes

Bonny Braes, Durnford Drove in Langton Matravers

Purbeck Greener Homes 2023

  • California Meadows, Priests Way, Swanage BH19 2RS – Saturday 30th September and Sunday 1st October, with solar talk 10.30 am and 12 noon and wildlife walk 2 pm. Ground-based solar array and wildlife walk. Feel free to come for both and bring a picnic. Please book by text on 07730680579 or phone 01929 425049. More details and directions
  • Farndreg, Southcliffe Road, Swanage BH19 2JE – Saturday 23rd September 10.30 am, 12 noon, 2 pm, 3.30 pm. Air source heat pump and solar panels with battery. Please book 01929 423965. More details and directions
  • The Knap, Southcliffe Road, Swanage BH19 2JE – Saturday 23rd September 11 am to 4 pm. Bee-keeping, living roofs, solar panels with battery, tea and honey cake. Drop in. More details and directions
  • Bonny Braes, Durnford Drove, Langton Matravers, BH19 3HG – Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th September. Tours at 2 pm and 3 pm.
    ‘Upside-down living’, rainwater harvesting, solar panels, electric vehicle. Just turn up. More details and directions
  • The Hyde, Langton Matravers – Saturday 23rd September and Sunday 1st October on the afternoons. Grey water system, solar panels, electric vehicle, organic gardening, air-to-air heat pump. Please book via Dorset Greener Homes website
Planet Purbeck festival banner

Planet Purbeck Festival

The event starts during the Planet Purbeck Festival which is taking place from 15th to 24th September 2023. The festival is a celebration of our natural world, the people within it and Purbeck’s nature recovery journey.

Events are taking place across Purbeck, culminating on Saturday 23rd September with an evening at The Mowlem in Swanage where there will be guest speakers including wildlife TV presenter and author Nadeem Perera, and the premiere of a documentary film about Purbeck, Let’s Go Wild!

Eco home in Swanage

Organiser of the Purbeck Greener Homes Lucinda Neall outside her home Farndreg, where she has recently installed an air source heat pump to go with her solar panels and battery

“Real Greener Homes success!”

Organiser of the Purbeck Greener Homes Lucinda Neall said:

“There’s lots going on over the Planet Purbeck Festival but I’d like to encourage people to visit the open homes if they can.

“It’s understandable that homeowners are nervous about investing in big ticket items like heat pumps but speaking to others who have already taken the plunge is extremely useful. You can ask the real questions that you might not want to ask a supplier and get answers that aren’t just a sales pitch.

“Last year there was a home in Worth Matravers that had installed an air to air heat pump and now the owners of a home in Langton Matravers have installed one too having seen the one in Worth – that’s a real Greener Homes success!

“It’s interesting to be able to find out how much money and energy you can save by installing some of these items but I’d also question whether if you spend £15,000 on a kitchen, do you think, ‘Will I get a return?’

“Sometimes, if you can afford it, it’s good to do it because it’s just a great thing to do for the environment!”

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