GALLERY: Projects large and small highlight the growing action to help environment

Environmental issues are more important than ever, as demonstrated by the government announcing a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles, banning microbead products and aiming to ban plastic straws.

Sunday, 6th May 2018, 9:18 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:32 am
ks180172-1 Wor Eco phot kate TransitionTown Worthing launches the Eco Open Homes event for Worthing Lancing and Shoreham.ks180172-1 SUS-180416-200921008

More people are starting to upgrade homes and businesses to be more eco-friendly, including the use of solar power, LED lighting and keeping a water butt.

Eco-houses range from old buildings which have been updated to have more sustainable features to new-builds which are fully equipped with renewable energy sources.

One family who are at the cutting edge of eco-house improvements has increased its use of renewable energy to reduce its negative impact on the environment.

Warren and Bairbre Philips, of Juniper Walk, Shoreham, were one of the first in the country to get the 14kW Tesla Powerwall 2 home battery.

This battery stores energy generated by solar panels so it can be used in non-sunlight hours.

The Tesla Powerwall 2 charges during the day while their 6.27kW solar panel system on the roof gathers power from the sun, which is then stored for when the family needs it during non-sunlight hours.

Bairbre said: “By having home storage, every home is using a more stable, steady amount of energy, which means they will need to produce less.”

The whole solar set-up, including the battery, set the family back about £15,000. Warren and Bairbre are passionate that this was a great investment.

Although the Philips’ house is an excellent example of a high-end transformation, there are plenty of cheap and easy adaptations that people can start with.

Draught-proofing is a good place to start, making sure windows, loft hatches and doors aren’t letting cold air in from the outside will lead to less heating being needed.

In West Sussex, there has been a lot of flooding in recent years and with rising water bills, people are developing and using new methods to reuse rainwater around the house.

Operation Watershed was set up by West Sussex County Council and funds from this initiative have been awarded to community groups to develop flood strategies and hopefully reduce the effects of heavy rainfall.

Claire Hunt and her partner Ryan Haines, of Northcourt Road, Worthing, have created a rain garden as a way to reduce the amount of surface water flooding and water their plants at the same time.

Drainpipes are directed into a water planter, then excess water runs out via a pipe onto the planting bed in the garden.

It does not require much upkeep, and means that the rainwater from the roof of Claire’s house never reaches the streets.

Transition Town Worthing recently ran an Eco Open Houses weekend to display residents’ adaptations, spreading ideas about how people can make changes.

Alice Doyle, one of the organisers, said: “The event was inspirational and hopefully transformative in creating positive behaviour change, especially in relation to how to reduce flood risk, one house at a time.

“Throughout the event, there were two film crews so there will be some forthcoming films coming out soon. One will be showing how to build a rain garden from the workshop run by Claire Hunt at the Maybridge Keystone Centre.”

The county council has also demonstrated the importance of environmental issues by creating the first council-owned solar farm in Tangmere, generating electricity being sold into the National Grid.

Louise Goldsmith, leader, said: “This is a great example of local authorities taking a lead on innovative, sustainable developments that make economic sense and benefit our residents.”

The council is also building a 7.4MWp solar farm on a closed landfill site at Westhampnett, which is due for completion by the summer after final work is done.