Trafford Eco House

Our latest planning application is in – we’ve made many, many, changes to placate the council but have managed to keep the main elements that improve the house’s performance:

  • 200mm of external insulation
  • Extensive solar PV
  • Locally-made triple-glazed windows
  • A large thermal store, heated by solar thermal and a woodburner

Overall we’re still targeting a reduction in heating requirement of up to 95%, and to be a net producer of energy. All of this can only get built though if we can get planning approval though, and to date that has been difficult.

We need your help

We need to show that there is support for this type of sustainable building. We’re getting our neighbours to write letters of support, and add supporting comments to the planning application online – but the more we can get, the better.

What you can do – by November 27

Have a look at the planning documents, our application number is 81791/HHA/2013  and the documents can be seen here

If you have any questions, please contact us and I’ll do my best to get back to you quickly. If you’re happy then please send in a supportive comment. You can do that in three ways:


The quickest way is to add your comment using the council’s online form with our application number – 81791/HHA/2013

Send an email

Or you can send your response to Please be sure to include the planning application number (81791/HHA/2013), your name and address and your comments.

Snail mail

You can write to the Chief Planning Officer, but please be quick – we need all comments in by the 27th of November:
Planning and Building Control, PO Box 96, Waterside House, Sale Waterside, Tatton Road, Sale M33 7ZF


Please do what you can – we only have until November 27 to get comments in!

I love this video – it makes such wonderful, simple points. And then I go out to cycle in Trafford.

Another one of our August jobs was installing some rainwater tanks. The task was to put something in that was better than our existing “rainwater harvesting” jug, but was cheaper than the full-on rainwater harvesting systems I’ve looked at before.

The answer was 1500-litre recycled tanks from eBay – they are used once for shipping Orange juice, then they are superfluous. We got three of them for only £80 each – great value in comparison to new tanks, and they came in an as-new condition, needing just a rinse out. We had a lot of fun getting them into position, but luckilyI had some help:

Once I’d got them in place there was the small issue of how to get the water out!

Not being a plumber I was a little nervous, but the solution is surprisingly simple. Drill the right size hole, and then a garden tap – bought from your local DIY place – will screw straight in, cutting its own thread as it goes. The only hitch? Don’t buy taps with one-way valves in – they work fine at mains pressure but the lower pressure from the water tanks was not enough to open the valves. You’ll know if you have these taps – firstly, no water will come out, and secondly they have these little white valves in the ends. Either swap them, or you can lever the little valves out!

With that little wrinkle ironed out, the tanks were all ready – here is one of them hiding behind the shed:

Not a big fan of making New Year Resolutions, but if I have one at all it’s to go to more courses in 2011 and to less meetings. There’s so much I want to learn as part of our “Great Re-skilling” that it’s time to get started.

There are some great things to do out there:

Those are just some of the ones I’m looking at – let me know if you’ve seen – or been on – any great courses.

Come along – I’ll be there!

I’m so flat out planting and working that it’s hard to get to the blog, but I’m taking plenty of pics along the way, so here’s a quick photo update for you:

I’ve just done my first bike commute into Manchester of the year – and it happens to be match day at Old Trafford. Had a great seminar at Manchester University on Sustainable Communities and then, at 6.30, I got back on my bike and headed out to . . . gridlock.

This was a striking conclusion to the discussion I’d just been having, where some very sensible, well-read researchers were explaining that we have run out of time for any gradual, democratic, community-led changes, and that major, rapid, centralised changes are the only way we can even come close to a 50-50 chance at keeping temperature rises to below 2.4C (remembering that anything more than 1.5C means the disappearance of many Pacific Island nations).

So then, out into a world solid with cars, our clearest way of demonstrating how little we care for the future of the human race.

70,000 people descending on Old Trafford, by car, coach, taxi, (and many by bus, train and tram), many travelling from far beyond the local area – especially the many thousands of Milan fans. How can we keep such strong community events going without destroying our chance of future happiness? or indeed of any future?

Back to the match report – it seems to be Manchester United 5,  Nature nil – but it’s only half time, and maybe – just maybe – it’s a game of two halves.