Welcome to our blog.

This blog will follow the ultimate in home improvement: demolish and rebuild!

This is our starting point: a 1930s bungalow. While not a bad house; it is too small for us with three teenage children so what should we do? A full storey extension versus complete rebuild - ultimately the stronger eco-credentials and more certain finances of a new-build helped to guide our choice.

For a number of years we've been trying to find the right route for us to build an eco-friendly, low energy home. We tried various architects and building companies and have eventually settled with a German prefabricated build. The new house will be nearly to passivhaus standards (but not quite due to budget constraints). In any case, the house will be heavily insulated and airtight.

As a family, we have not built a house before so everything is new and exciting but the risk of making a mess of things is quite high!

This blog aims to outline the day to day steps involved in our build.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Good morning, Sunshine!

Passersby have been wondering why we might have scaffolding up on our house again. Thankfully it is good news as our photovoltaic panels were installed this week.
We have employed the same contractors to do the work as for our solar thermal panels and heat pump.

We chose the Sanyo Hit 250W panels and have installed 12 of them. They should have a theoretical output of 3kWh peak.

Here is the roof with the brackets in place before the panels were attached.

Work in progress.

Job done! Fab! Thank you Neil, Steve and Liam.

When the system was connected within the house, we were amazed to find that it generated 3kWhp when the sun shone. Apparently there is often a drop-off of up to 20% but not with these panels. Having a good angle on the roof helps, without shadows from trees or other buildings.

We are very happy with the results. The first day we generated 13.5kWh, and yesterday we generated 12.8kWh even though there has been a significant amount of cloud cover! We have been charging everything and using the washing machine the minute the sun comes out!

The good thing is that with our low-energy house, the demands for energy are relatively low (even with three teenagers in the house). The installation of the photovoltaic panels to generate electricy should allow us to get sufficient income from the Feed-in tarriffs to cover the cost of our electricity the rest of the time when there is no sun. Net result: no bills!