When Ian and Becky Sheveling moved to Yorkshire to start a new life, they wanted their new home to be as environmentally-friendly as possible. So heating and hot water from a Dimplex heat pump and solar thermal water heating system were a natural choice to cut the building’s carbon footprint.

In an ambitious change of lifestyle that was featured on the Channel 5 television programme ‘Build a New Life in the Country’, Ian and Becky’s leap of faith saw them move from London and buy a farmhouse and barn on seven acres of land in Yorkshire.

The house is a large old Grade II listed farmhouse, which the couple have now substantially but sympathetically modernised, in line with the listed status of the property. With five bedrooms and an open plan living area downstairs, it initially presented a heating challenge. But Halifax-based Dimplex renewables installer partner Blue Flag suggested retrofit underfloor heating throughout the house and barn, with the heat provided by an SI 21 TE Dimplex ground source heat pump, so the house is now beautifully warm. A Dimplex solar thermal system provides plentiful hot water, assisted by the heat pump’s extra capacity if additional water heating is required.

“The renewable heating and hot water system is absolutely brilliant, we’re thrilled with it,” says Becky. “The solar system is the main water heating, and it doesn’t even need sunshine to produce lots of hot water. Sometimes we can get through six or seven loads of washing in a day, and it easily copes with this.”

The heat pump and hot water cylinder are located in the house’s utility room, with the horizontal ground collector installed on a sloping area near the house. Stuart Robertshaw of Blue Flag explains: “The ground collector installation presented us with a challenge, as due to the heavy autumn rain the trenches on the clay hillside kept collapsing. But eventually the weather gave us a break, the ground loops were installed and the heat pump was commissioned before Christmas.”

Becky adds: “We had really hard weather in the January after the Dimplex heat pump was installed. But after months of living in the cold semi-refurbished house, we had comfortable heating and plentiful hot water. It was such a luxury, we were over the moon!”

The Shevelings’ plan for sustainable living hasn’t ended with the completion of the house, though. Located in the beautiful Holme Valley – the setting for TV’s ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ - the couple have planted a 7,000-vine vineyard and also plan to build a winery, visitor centre and a number of ‘eco pods’, cabins sleeping up to six people where visitors can enjoy a break in the latest in eco-living. All buildings will incorporate as many environmentally friendly features as possible, including Dimplex heat pumps and solar thermal water heating.

The plan is for the eco pods to achieve Level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes; they will incorporate green roofs and recycled building materials as well as renewable heating and hot water. In fact, it’s hoped the entire site will be carbon-neutral by 2011 or 2012. Other ‘green’ features on the planning list include three wind turbines on the hills above the buildings and use of a local spring water supply to meet the site’s requirements.

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