Ambitious eco event draws crowds from far and wide

The Steyning Eco Open Houses launch. Photography by Frank Bull � 2014
The Steyning Eco Open Houses launch. Photography by Frank Bull � 2014

PEOPLE from all over Sussex descended on Steyning to learn more about energy efficiency measures.

The Eco Open Houses event on Sunday, April 27, proved far more successful than organisers had expected, with a total of 424 visits across the four houses and a presentation at the Steyning Centre on a renovation project in France.

Geoff Barnard, co-ordinator of Steyning 10:10 Climate Action Group, said the event was the most ambitious thing they had been involved with and it had generated a real buzz.

“The event was a huge success,” he added. “We had 424 visits, which was way more than we were expecting, and a really encouraging sign of the interest out there in making our homes more energy efficient.”

With the murky weather at 10am, the homeowners were concerned nobody would turn up, but in no time, there was a steady flow of visitors that lasted all day.

Mr Barnard said: “People came from all over Sussex to see what Steyning homeowners had done to make their houses warmer and cut their energy bills.

“For some it was the high tech solutions that caught their eye, such as the special controller that Mike and Di Croker have fitted that allow them to heat up their hot water tank when the sun’s out, using electricity from their solar panels.

“For others it was simple measures like the neat secondary glazing fitted on Maxine Rawling’s historic flint cottage.

“There was also lots of interest in what people had done in their gardens with compost bins, rainwater harvesting and other green measures.”

He said people had gone away with some new ideas to try out, and a sheaf of information on what to do next.

The house owners and volunteers involved said they enjoyed the day but found it tiring. They said they had also learned a lot themselves, mainly from talking to different people.

Mr Barnard said: “This is the most ambitious thing we have done, but I think it’s been one of the most successful.

“There’s nothing like being able to see energy-saving measures in action, and in houses very similar to yours, to convince you to take the next step and get going on your own eco improvements.”

Links to detailed case studies on all four houses, in Kings Barn Lane, Tanyard Lane, High Street and Maydlyn Park, are available at