Eco-friendly home cuts its carbon footprint by 92 per cent

Neil Kennedy with wife Tracey, their sons James, 10, and twins Adam and Alex, eight, outside their eco-home in Marsworth, near Tring
Neil Kennedy with wife Tracey, their sons James, 10, and twins Adam and Alex, eight, outside their eco-home in Marsworth, near Tring

A pioneering family has spent £30,000 on eco-friendly measures to reduce their home’s carbon footprint by nearly 100 per cent.

The Kennedys first embarked on the SuperHomes project in September 2007 after purchasing the 1960s detached house in Vicarage Road, Marsworth, four years before.

Their five-bedroom property has been given ‘SuperHome’ status because it has reduced its carbon footprint by 92 per cent – smashing the 60 per cent target amount – and now they’re inviting those interested in doing the same to look round their house.

Neil Kennedy, 39, lives in the sustainable property with wife Tracey, 35, and their sons James, 10, and eight-year-old twins Adam and Alex.

He said: “Ever since I did an A Level physics project where I had to design an eco house, I’ve wanted to incorporate those measures into my own home.

“It’s been a bit of an experiment and we did a lot of research. I was shocked when they told us we’d reduced our footprint by 92 per cent – I was expecting around the 80 mark.”

The 2,500 square foot house – which is a conservation area – has two types of solar panels fitted on both the roof and a pergola in the garden as well as a biomass boiler from Scandanavia.

Neil, who works in software development as a service delivery director, said: “The solar panels generate that much energy that it pays our entire electricity bill for the year.

Cavity wall, loft and ceiling insulation have also been fitted plus underfloor heating, a wood stove, low-energy appliances and LED lighting.

A mechanical ventilation heat recovery system extracts warm, damp air from the home and draws in fresh air from the outside.

The warm, extracted air is passed through a heat exchanger to recover the heat before being expelled outside. The cool, fresh outside air is also passed through the heat exchanger, without coming into direct contact with the pollutant air where it is pre-warmed before being pumped in to the property.

A 9,000 litre rainwater harvesting tank is buried in the garden and Neil says this allows the family to flush toilets, use the washing machine and run the outside taps.

And now the family are inviting visitors to a free open day on Saturday (September 12) to share their knowledge and experience.

Neil said: “It’s not a sales pitch – you can learn about funding options, tax implications and available grants, and we might share some details that the eco sales person would hold back!”

If you would like to visit the Kennedys’ SuperHome, you must register here.