‘I’ve cut my energy bills and reduced my carbon footprint’

Robert Smart at his SuperHome in Thornborough.'130328M-A231
Robert Smart at his SuperHome in Thornborough.'130328M-A231
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A Thornborough couple have made so many energy-saving changes to their home that it has been designated a 

Palie and Robert Smart’s Thornborough home is now so energy efficient they have cut their electricity usage by 45 per cent and their carbon footprint by 67 per cent.

Mr and Mrs Smart, with their sons Dhillon, now 15, and Finlay, now 14, took on the partly refurbished property about 10 years ago.

The home – originally two 1930s farmworkers’ cottages – had no flooring and no lights.

They laid oak flooring throughout, with good insulation underleath, and insulated the loft to new build standard.

They also reinstalled woodburning stoves and joined a community woodland in Buckingham where they get local wood to burn.

The house has solar water heating, photovoltaic panels, low-energy appliances and water-saving devices. For additional heating, it uses a mixture of electricity and oil.

The home was opened to the public last weekend under the SuperHomes Network, which uses energy-saving enthusiasts to bring examples of successful sustainable refurbishment to other people.

It was also featured on the local BBC news this week .

Mr Smart, who works as a sustainability officer for Aylesbury Vale District Council, said: “It’s been a long journey. I’ve taken the family from relatively high consumption to lower consumption. But I’m also concentrating on the most important thing – behaviour change. The average UK energy bill is about £1,400 a year. My home currently runs on £700 a year.

“We’ve reduced our bills but, from my perspective, the most important thing is I’ve reduced my carbon footprint.”