How much do you pay for electricity?
Giles bought Athelhampton House in Dorset in 2019, for a reported £7million.
However, the seven-bedroom property’s energy costs were already amounting to £55,000, doubling a year and later to a staggering £100,000 after the war in Ukraine broke out.
But now the Tudor mansion, which is a Grade I listed property, has had an eco-retrofit, and it now costs nothing to heat.
It wasn’t an easy process for Giles — he and architect Stefan Pitman introduced carbon-neutral heating gradually over a five-month period.
They replaced oil burners, gas ovens and boilers with air-source heat pumps and Tesla Powerwall batteries.
The home was originally heated using LPG (liquid petroleum gas) and kerosene, which amassed a carbon footprint of more than 100 tons a year.
Each room can now be heated up to 21C. When first installing the heating, Giles and Stefan approached it one room at a time.
‘For the more historic rooms we’ve reused the earlier Victorian trench heaters,’ Stefan told The Times. ‘The limecrete [an alternative to concrete] floors are insulated with recycled blown glass. They act as an anti-capillary for damp, should the moisture levels rise. We’re near a flood zone after all.’
There are also 100 kilowatts of solar PV (photovoltaics) which have been installed in a water meadow near the main house.
And while Giles can now energy zero cost energy bills, the eco-fit cost him a pretty penny – it took two years and a quarter of a million pounds to make the home carbon neutral.
And while the home is now better preserved, Giles hasn’t found a solution for an all together different problem: the mansion has a ghost.
‘We had some Tudor reenactment people stay the night recently in the four-poster beds and they couldn’t believe how comfortable and warm it was,’ he said.
‘They did complain about the ghosts, but that’s just the way it is.’
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