Residents access the benefits of eco-friendly homes

Karen Simporis, owner of Henry House in Heene Road
Karen Simporis, owner of Henry House in Heene Road

ENERGY efficient homes and community spaces opened their doors to curious residents wanting a glimpse of the eco-friendly methods they employ.

Transition Town Worthing’s second Eco Open Houses event on Saturday included tours, workshops and presentations across Worthing, Lancing and Ferring.

Pauline Cory, from Transition Town Worthing, said: “Last year it was just houses. We have gone in to community centres, we have gone into Splashpoint and we have done workshops this year. We wanted to reach out to different aspects of the community, not just the middle classes looking around each other’s nice homes.

“We have done it all on our own. Last year, Lower Carbon Trust raised all the money for us. They did a huge amount of the admin work and organisation and we helped them, but this year TTW have done it on their own.

“What we are trying to do is raise awareness levels and teach people how to conserve energy. There’s no point in dragging it out the ground if we are just going to waste it all.”

Lydia Schilbach and her husband David, of Sompting Road, Lancing, bought their first family home in January last year.

We wanted to reach out to different aspects of the community, not just the middle classes looking around each other’s nice homes.

Renovation work was required so the couple decided to implement an array of energy-saving features including a condensing boiler, ground-floor insulation, low-energy appliances, rainwater harvesting and much more.

Lydia said: “It’s one of these things that just makes sense to live as efficiently as possible without having to compromise on comfort. Money saving is always a good side effect. The inspiration is we can’t carry on in such a wasteful way as a society.

“We have completely renovated our house and because we needed to take it right back and start afresh we did so with energy saving efficiency in mind. We were doing the house anyhow and it made sense.

“Our real passion is to do with the garden. We have plans for the front garden to transform it into a rain garden as part of sustainable urban drainage.”

Downsbrook Middle School, in Dominion Road, Worthing, was the only school involved in the eco trail and both staff and the school’s student ‘eco warriors’ carried out tours of its facilities.

Jonathan Grover, head teacher of Downsbrook Middle School, said: “Downsbrook has always done a lot in terms of the environment and promoting good eco practices with our children. With our new building and development areas we got the builders and West Sussex (County Council) to think about eco aspects. We want to share 
that with the wider community.”

The school boasts a sedum roof, solar PV, underfloor heating, rainwater harvesting, food growing and more.

Mr Grover added: “It’s been a huge success. The students and staff at the school have really embraced all we are doing and are keen to share that with visitors and the general public. Financially, we have been able to reduce our energy consumption which a cost benefit to the school. It’s really engaging the children in thinking about the planet’s future and getting them to think how are we going to conserve our natural energy resources.”

The school’s eco warriors carry out weekly audits to highlight good energy efficiency around the school and to find what could work better.