Features of our Greener homes

High performance glazing

Windows that are designed to minimise heat loss, for example through an insulated frame, a low E- coating, an inert gas filled cavity, triple glazing, or any combination of these.

LED lighting

A very low energy form of lighting (light-emitting diode) which uses significantly less energy, is long-lasting and cheap to run. LEDs are now available for most light fittings.

Natural Building materials

Products that comes from plants or animals – including sheep’s wool insulation, sweet chestnut cladding, sustainably sourced timber, straw, lime and clay plaster. Natural materials tend to be more sustainable than artificial materials and allow breathability and movement of moisture.

Recycled Building Materials

Re-using material that would otherwise go into landfill

Rainwater harvesting

Collecting water that falls on a roof and using it at home for washing clothes, flushing a toilet  or watering the garden. If filtered and sterilized with UV it can be used for drinking water

Grey water recycling

Collecting waste water from sinks showers and baths and reusing it for toilet flushing or watering the garden. Grey water is waste water that has not been mixed with sewage.

Photovoltaic (PV) panels

 Panels usually mounted on a south-facing roof that convert sunlight into electricity. Electricity generated using PV panels attracts a payment known as the Feed in Tariff (FIT).

Wind Turbines

Small windmills to charge up batteries.

Solar thermal panels

Using the sun’s energy to heat water directly. Can be a flat plate system or evacuated tube system. From 2014, the Government plans to pay a renewable Heating incentive for solar panels

Woodburning stove

Using sustainable wood and recycled timber to heat a house. These may also have back burners to heat water.

Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR)

A ventilation system with a heat exchanger that recovers warmth from outgoing air to warm cooler incoming fresh air. This requires a high level of airtightness to be effective

Productive Garden

30% of our carbon footprint is used to produce our food and transport it ot supermarkets. By growing food ourselves, or by buying local food from small outlets we are reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and chemicals.

Solid wall insulation (SWI)

Solid walls can be insulated externally or internally. Walls are usually insulated externally by fixing insulation boards to the wall and then finished with rendering or cladding. Walls are internally insulated by fixing rigid insulation boards to existing walls or by building a stud wall filled with mineral wool or equivalent which is then dry lined with plasterboard.


Lots of heat is lost through draughts so this is a priority for saving money. Typical draughty areas of a house include chimneys, loft hatches, windows and doors, around skirting boards and floors. Transition Town Bridport are running courses and supplying materials for cheap draughtproofing – see our website.

Ground floor insulation

For suspended floors, mineral wool or rigid insulation boards are installed between beams. For solid floors, rigid insulation board is placed on top of the solid floor and under a finishing layer. Installing thicker carpets and/or insulated carpet underlay may also help reduce draughts.

Passive heating/cooling/High Solar Gain

Careful design using building orientation, solar gain, super insulation, thermal mass and passive ventilation. It can take advantage of the sun’s energy and internal gains from cooking and other activities to reduce the amount of heating required.

Green roof

A roof that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproof membrane.

Other Energy saving features

Heat pump

A heating unit that extracts heat from the external environment, e.g. air or ground, and uses it to heat a building. The pump uses electricity to power it but delivers up to 5kW of heat for every 1kW of electricity.

Airtight construction

The method of making new or refurbished buildings highly airtight to minimise ventilation losses;  often associated with MVHR.

Condensing boiler

A type of boiler that captures more usable heat from its fuel. Its efficiency is made possible by the design of the condensing boiler’s larger (or dual) heat exchanger. Most modern boilers are condensing boilers.

Energy controls

Heating systems with simple controls in an accessible place can be more efficient as people are more likely to use them. Typical controls include thermostatic radiator valves for each radiator, room thermostats – and programmers, which enable more control.

Flue gas heat recovery (FGHR)

Even a condensing boiler vents useful heat in the flue gas, but this can be recovered to preheat water using a simple FGHR unit.

Passivhaus standard

A low energy standard that reflects the principles of high levels of insulation, airtight construction, high performance glazing and a mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery.

Low energy appliances

All appliances are rated from A to G,with appliances rated A to A+++ for refrigeration using the least energy. Washing machines and dishwashers are also rated for the amount of water they use per cycle.

Low water goods

Taps, showers or toilets that are designed to use less water than typical plumbing fittings, typically by aerating the water.

Timber frame

Type of wall made from timber studs, finished with dry lining boards on the inside and cladding outside, creating a void that is easy to fill with insulation.

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