Building type Domestic
Building age 1800-1914
Location Henham
Cost of work £4,927
District Suffolk Coastal
Features Solar Hot Water Heating,Biomass Boiler

This is a semi-detached Victorian brick property, with yellow brick-work outlining corners and features. Until 1994 when we moved in it had been a farmworker’s house belonging to the Estate of the Earl of Stradbroke.

There was a woodburner in the main downstairs room, and a Reyburn in the kitchen. No other form of space or water heating.

Sustainability Features

  1. Thermal solar panels, for water heating only. Installed September 2001.
  2. Woodburning stove for space heating. Upgraded from previous smaller burner February 2008.


Design Process

  1. 2 panels on south-facing roof. Indirect dual-coil with auxiliary immersion heater facility. “Sunuser” system control. Water tank, immersion heater replaced and upgraded as part of same package of work.
  2. Stovax Stockton 5 woodburner. No planning permission required for either installation.



None available at that time for solar panels, none available for woodburners.


Green Lifestyle

We did install oil-fired central heating in the mid 1990s. However, we now use the woodburner as our sole source of heat as much as possible. We also cook on the top of the woodburner. Initially we were ordering several loads of wood each year, but we now belong to a wood-cutting syndicate which helps to manage a local woodland by coppicing and then removing the wood for domestic use. We use a tandem for local shopping and visiting, and are active members of our local Transition group. None of this seems enough …….



  1. Solar panels : The solar panels always deliver a minimum of around 16 degrees water heat. In winter that needs topping up, but in summer the water temperature gets into the middle 70s.
  2. Woodburner : This heats the downstairs rooms very adequately. It can’t manage the upstairs too – not big enough – so we have to top up with the central heating sometimes for the upstairs radiators. The flat top means we can cook on it too, which we do.


Suppliers and Professional Services Used

1. Solar panels : Sunuser, 157 Buslingthorpe Lane, Leed LS7 2DQ

2. Woodburner : Suffolk Stoves, Garden House Farm, Middleton, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 3LU

3. Ecoflue Ltd. Chimney Sweep, Justin Block 01502 741388



None sought.