Homes of the future open their doors in Lewes

Eco house open day launch, in Lewes with owner 'Neil Willams and Norman Baker.
Eco house open day launch, in Lewes with owner 'Neil Willams and Norman Baker.

Lewes MP Norman Baker on Monday officially launched Lewes Eco Open Houses, which will be held over the weekends of September 13-14 and 20-21.

Sixteen homes in Lewes, Barcombe, Ditchling, Rodmell and rural areas, will be open to the public to see how you can save money on energy and water bills, whilst staying warm and comfortable and reducing your carbon footprint.

With fuel costs rising and changeable weather patterns increasing, the Eco Open Houses trail is an invaluable way to see first-hand how to make your home cheaper to run and more comfortable.

During the launch event, a mix of local councillors, householders, volunteers and event organisers proudly cut the green ribbon at the Eco Open House of Neil Williams, of 8 St James Street, Lewes.

Neil explained how he had eco-renovated his Victorian terraced home on a modest budget, which included high levels of solid-wall and under-floor insulation, low-cost magnetic secondary glazing, and a wood-burning stove. The cost of the refurbishment was £4,500 and energy use and bills have been cut by 50 per cent. As one of the 16 houses on the trail, Neil’s home is an inspirational visit brimming with cost-saving ideas.

Special guest Mr Baker said: “The Open Houses event is a grass-roots movement which gives a unique chance to learn from the practical, real-life experience of others in the local community. A quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions come from energy used in the home so there is good potential to save carbon. And many people are struggling to pay their energy bills and stay warm, so there is an urgent need to find ways to save energy and cut fuel bills.”

Kirsten Firth, of the Eco Open Houses team, rounded off the launch by thanking all the event partners and the 16 householders who will generously open their homes to the public this month. She said, “There’s a real momentum building. The Lewes Eco Open Houses event has been running for five years and has expanded from one to two weekends.

“New houses are added to the programme every year – six new houses in 2014. Last year there were more than 900 visits to the houses and more than half of the visitors said they are planning energy-efficiency improvements to their own homes.”

The inspiring homes on show in 2014 range from renovated Victorian cottages to 1960s conversions and stunning architect designed new-build properties.

Properties in the villages and countryside feature exciting off grid measures such as air, ground and water source heat pumps, as well as being examples of good eco building.