We aim for our home and our business to be as eco-friendly as possible. I am not sure if we are eco warriors so much as eco worriers but nevertheless here are the things we have implemented already, some of our ideas for the future, and some links to things we’ve found useful…
Please let us know if you have any suggestions or ideas to transform us from eco-worriers into eco-warriors!
At the end of 2010 we installed solar photovoltaic panels which, over the course of a year, produce more electricity than we consume with the surplus going to the grid. We source the remainder of our electricity (and gas) from Ecotricity. We have plans to install solar thermal panels as well to provide us with free, renewable hot water.
We have double glazing and cavity wall insulation already but improving insulation is one of the best ways to reduce energy consumption so we currently have plans to improve our house insulation.
We have used Auro Natural paints throughout our premises. These are petrochemical-free paints made using natural raw materials from environmentally managed sources and produced using a sustainable ecological cycle. They smell fantastic too while you are painting them on!
Waste and Recycling
As well as the paper and cans that the council collect, we separate glass, plastics and tetrapacks to take to Alnwick Household Waste Recovery Centre.
Growing Our Own
In 2009, our first year in Shilbottle, we managed to grow a handful of beans and a very small courgette. It was a small start but then we did grow a beautiful baby too! In 2010 we managed a few tomatoes and lots of beetroot, and year on year our harvests are more exciting. Strawberry plants went in and they pretty much grow themselves (which is lucky, as another beautiful but time-consuming baby was born in 2013!) In 2015 Henry build our enormous raised beds in which we grow mainly things which the children will eat – carrots, beans, peas and pumpkins for Halloween. In October 2017 we acquired a greenhouse so we are excited to see what we might manage to grow in 2018!
Meanwhile we buy most of our organic vegetables from North East Organic Growers. They deliver to Shilbottle every Thursday. We love the tasty produce we get each week.
We like to give ‘stuff’ a good home, so when we need something new we do make a good effort to try and source things second hand, and to find new homes for the ‘stuff’ we don’t need. Old things have character and charm, and its nice to think they can have a new life rather than end up unwanted and buried in the ground. Often a little bit of elbow grease is all you need to revamp an appliance or piece of furniture and hey presto that’s one less thing in the landfill. We recommend Freecycle and Freegle for giving and receiving things free in your area – and a good tour of the charity shops can produce real treasures!