How green is your house?

Chances are, not as green as Penney Poyzer's. She makes her living promoting eco-friendly ideas. But if she can do it, why can't you?
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The Independent Online

From the outside there are few signs that Penney Poyzer's red-brick Victorian house is any different from its neighbours. But the modest semi on the outskirts of Nottingham represents the cutting edge of environmental living.

In the wake of the Stern report on global warming, Tony Blair is expected to include a climate change Bill in the Queen's speech this Wednesday.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, each home in Britain creates about six tonnes of CO 2 a year - more than is produced by the average car. When Ms Poyzer and her husband Gil Schalom bought their home eight years ago, they were determined to prove that even a draughty pile built more than a century ago could be transformed into a model for eco-efficiency.

After a £60,000 refit, the house's toilets flush with rainwater, the kitchen was built from yoghurt pots, and the walls are insulated with newspapers. Even the doorbell has its own solar panel.

In a typical home, 20 per cent of all heat lost is through leaky windows, but Ms Poyzer installed triple glazing and gave her home a "duvet" of polystyrene cladding. Walls and floors were insulated with old newspapers and wool. Lighting is provided by hyper-efficient LED bulbs, similar to those recently installed at 10 Downing Street.

Showers are heated by solar panels when it's sunny, while a wood-burning boiler kicks in on cloudy days.

Since May, the Government has pledged £4.2m to help homeowners install wind turbines, solar panels and other "micro-generation" technologies. Dave Timms, from Friends of the Earth, said: "Everyone wants to help tackle climate change, but many people can't even afford basic energy-saving measures such as loft insulation, let alone solar panels. The Government must get stuck in by taxing polluting activities, and giving tax breaks and grants to help us all go green."

How Penney Poyzer's house works:

1 Flat-plate solar collectors heat water
2 Roof insulation made of old newspapers
3 Insulated roof lights
4 Natural clay or lime plaster
5 Super-insulated water tank
6 Ozone-friendly drylining to front
7 Exterior wall insulation
8 Space-saving bath and thermostatic shower controls
9 Heat-recovering fans
10 Environmetally friendly paints
11 Draught lobby in porch
12 Triple- and double-glazed timber windows
13 Energy-efficient appliances
14 Secondhand and reclaimed furniture
15 Stripped floorboards
16 Copper rain goods for water harvesting
17 Natural floor insulation
18 Rainwater storage
19 Low-flush WCs
20 Non-PVC waste pipes
21 Composting chamber for solid waste from WCs
22 Separator divides liquids from solids
23 Decking from English green oak
24 Organic land management using "permaculture" principles