We wanted the renovation to have some decent green credentials if possible. The property is not on gas, and we (well, I) spent ages and ages agonising about what sort of heating/hot water system to have. We came wafer-thin close to getting an air source heat pump, but I've heard so many accounts of them not working very well that in the end we didn't - and we now have a fantastic (but veeery expensive) wood pellet stove with back boiler. Bertha, as she is named, looks like this, sitting on her trendy glass hearth:
She works in conjunction with her partner, Cyril, who dominates the airing cupboard (he's about 2m tall) and looks like this:
Cyril is not a normal hot water cylinder, but in fact a thermal store, which gives us mains pressure hot water among other things. Bertha and Cyril don't quite talk to each other properly yet (she ignores his commands) and a marriage guidance counsellor from Oxford Renewables, who installed them, is coming tomorrow. But it all works, and all we need to do now is insulate the loft properly. We'd hoped to convert the loft but alas have no money left - ditto solar thermal for hot water, can't afford it and the 10-year-plus payback time makes it a dubious investment. Anyway, if you ever want someone to bore you about eco-renovation, heating systems etc, I'm your man now.
A small example of before and after in the house is exemplified by the kitchen. Before: just a scabby sink, with a concrete floor with tiles containing asbestos on it. After: Ikea's finest (and some homely mess):
Plenty more to do - in the long run, we want to do something with the loft still, plus convert a 19th century (or older) outbuilding into my office - but we now have a nice home to live in which is effectively brand new.
Sorry, long ramble, but needed to purge a very very hard and stressful summer and look forward to new adventures. We've just had a fantastic holiday in north Wales, which marked a turning point, I think. And I can finally see the end of a really tough work period.
How are you?