Generating income

The woodland appeal is bound to attract a lot of attention from buyers
The woodland appeal is bound to attract a lot of attention from buyers
Picture: Shutterstock

STEVE CANAVAN: Making a molehill out of Malcolm, my very minor ailment

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There are powerful reasons to love a new home that’s been built in the woodland at Catherington Lith, to the north of Portsmouth.

While uncertainty remains about the future of feed-in tariffs (FITs) for people who generate their own electricity, the house has already been registered on a fixed 25 year contract for the off-grid tariff so its owner will receive a good return.

As well as earning around £7.50 a day when the sun is out through its power generation technologies, the house also comes minus the threat of any future electricity bills, with the money it earns helping to fill the fuel tank for the stand-by generator system when needed.

The house, called St Bernard, is hidden among the trees in the ancient woodland and is home to some of the latest technologies to minimise its impact.

When there’s nothing on the television, the sight of the electricity meter clocking up earnings should also be great entertainment for the owners.

‘Most people may not be able to get their heads round the electric meter clocking up payments to them but that is probably the most difficult concept to accept,’ says builder Kirk Bolton, of KJT Developments.

‘This looks like a normal three bedroom cottage from the outside but houses many secrets, including the fact that it completely powers itself mainly through renewable energy and is probably as large beneath ground as it is above. The control systems are simple, though, and easy to understand and there are massive battery packs so the systems are always charging and earning FITs.’

Beneath the house are two 4,000 litre tanks, one for a mix of UV purified grey and rain water fed back to flush toilets and run the washing machine and the other containing purified fresh water from a 340 ft borehole straight into the Hampshire Basin.

‘People started living in The Lith during the World War II evacuation from Portsmouth,’ adds Kirk. ‘To be self sufficient by modern standards, we even have satellite systems for the television and phones, with connections in every room.

‘Three oak staircases and other natural wood fittings give a wonderful feel to the house and there’s a woodburning stove near the base of the main stairs so it heats the ground floor living space and the first floor simultaneously.’

The house is being marketed through Fine and Country in Drayton – director Colin Shairp is really taken with the project and will discuss guide price details with potential buyers.

‘Many people pay lip service to building ecologically but Kirk has put this into effect inside what looks like an ordinary cottage,’ adds Colin.

‘Part of the appeal is the cottage in the woods feel rather than some futuristic design.’

For more details or to view, please contact Fine and Country on 023 93 277 277.