A SHETLAND couple are opening their home to visitors who want to learn more about energy efficiency and living a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
As part of this month’s Green Home Energy Week, Sue Hinton and Tom Jenkinson will share their experiences with anyone interested.
It is only three years ago that they started making changes towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
It all started with the first Nortenergy polytunnel (or “polycrub”), which was followed by a second one a year later.
In March last year local firm Nordri installed a 4kw solar photovoltaic (PV) system, which has provided the majority of their electricity since then –including running the freezers and fridges they keep for their homegrown food.
The couple also installed a multi-fuel stove burning mainly peat and wood, which allowed them to switch off the originally installed storage heaters.
Fifty two year old Tom, who has been working in the oil industry all his life, took the opportunity to make some dramatic changes to his life after being “pensioned off” four years ago.
His partner Sue said the philosophy behind their approach was “trying to be self-sufficient by working with nature”.
Tom said he was extremely happy with the service they had received from Nordri who “knew what they were doing” when using extra strong brackets installing the solar panel on the roof.
Since then the wind has created problems only once, when it loosened up the fittings of the panels, but the local installer was quick to fix the issue.
He said the REC Peak Energy solar system, costing £9,000, needed very little maintenance and came with a 20-year warranty.
Before installing this technology they enjoyed a visit from their local Home Energy Scotland renewable adviser Steven Coutts.
They hope to install other renewable technology in the future. Sue’s advice is clear: “We are definitely doing it if you can afford it, but first do a lot of research and get some professional advice.”
Green Home Energy Week runs from 5 to 13 September, and is organised by the Energy Saving Trust.
With two polytunnels in the garden, Sue and Tom’s house on the A970 just before heading into Brae can’t be missed.
Their doors are open between 9am and 5pm on Saturday 5th, and for the same hours a week later.
They are also available by appointment between Sunday and Friday (6 to 11 September). Please call Giovanna Bisoni on 01463 259714 for appointments.