Situated in Western Park, the EcoHouse first opened in 1989. It is an environmentally-friendly showhome to demonstrate to the public that by making small changes in their day-to-day life, they could have a major impact on their surroundings.
Since then, it has received over 100,000 visitors including royalty and members of the Government and had funding from organisations such as the National Lottery, the European Union and hundreds of businesses in the local area.
So what makes an EcoHouse?
|A water feature using recycled water|
Everything found within the house has been made from either renewable or recycled materials, that's including the decor! It's virtually impossible to leave any of the taps running - tiny infrared sensors can detect the presence of your hand, or whatever it is you're washing, and turn off accordingly if the presence disappears.
Interactive displays can be found throughout the house to engage the visitor and get them to think about issues relevant to the room they are stood in, such as, in the lounge area, there is a section inviting people to place their hand on the wall to guess where the most heat is lost.
The use of solar panels on the roof provide the house with all the electricity it needs to run, producing a surplus that is sold back to the National Grid to prevent wastage.
But the EcoHouse isn't just a museum of eco-friendly ideas, it actually serves as a home to one person. The person in question lives their life in accordance with the ideals of the EcoHouse, talking to guests, and getting used to the idea of people walking through the house at their own leisure during the open hours. The only real privacy the eco-resident has is that of their own bedroom.
The EcoHouse staff are on hand to provide information about the grants that are available to the public to help make make changes to their own homes, such as installing a solar panel to provide their own electricity.
Every guest is encouraged to take home one idea with them to put into place. I know I'll be turning off the taps while I'm brushing my teeth..!