Domestic GSHP & Solar PV
Peter Sproston renovating his 1960s property at Penpol gave him a ‘golden opportunity’ to include renewable energy in his rebuild.
Highlights: Zero utility bills
Having previously renovated his last home in Surrey, Peter Sproston was in no hurry to take on another big project. When he moved to Cornwall with his wife, their intention was clear – to buy a home that didn’t need major work.
However, life had other plans and the pair fell in love with the location and position of their home on Restronguet Creek, so a renovation was back on the cards.
Peter said: “We decided to put a large extension on the back of the house and thought, if we’re going to do this, we might as well do it properly. Having had under floor heating in our last home we felt this was our golden opportunity to do it again and find the most energy efficient system possible.”
As a chartered engineer Peter had a clear idea of what he wanted to do, he just need the right firm to do it.
“We did talk to a few companies, but then one day the managing director of ZLC, Mark was in the area, knocked on our door and we got talking.
“Some of the firms we spoke to came across as glib and unprofessional, almost like double glazing salesmen, but Mark wasn’t like that, he was incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, which inspired confidence,” said Peter.
It was agreed that Peter should install a ground source heat pump that would provide all of the energy needed for their home. They also installed semi-recessed solar panels to blend in beautifully with their new slate roof.
The driving force behind installing solar panels and a ground source heat pump, wasn’t to generate income from feed-in tariffs.
Peter said: “Essentially I wanted the most efficient system available. Under floor heating can initially be more expensive than radiators to install, yet it is so much more efficient.
“We don’t have any gas supply to our home, so it’s purely electricity. Our bills are around £800 per year for utilities and we’re generating that much in renewable energy, meaning I never have a bill to pay.”
Luckily Peter was able to tap into a government grant to help pay for his heat pump. The money is paid back to him quarterly, ensuring that his investment will be recouped within seven years of having the pump installed.
“The feed in tariffs aren’t quite as good now as they were a few years ago, but back then it was much more expensive to install renewable energy,” said Peter.
Working with ZLC
The entire process took around 12 months to complete, as ZLC worked alongside Peter during the renovation of his property.
He said: “Mark and his team were very responsive. Whenever I contacted to them to say ‘the next stage of my build is complete’ they’d be straight round to do their bit. Most firms just want to get in, get out and bill you for the job, but ZLC were helpful at every step of our rebuild. Their flexibility was fantastic.”
Maintaining renewable energy
At the back of Peter’s home is a small plant room, in which he is able to go in and set the temperature for his under floor heating.
“To be honest I never go in there other than to read the meter when the bill is due. Once the temperature is set there’s virtually nothing for me to do and I know if I have any problems I can just call ZLC and they’ll sort them out for me. It’s incredibly easy to manage,” said Peter.