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Tuesday 14th February 2006

Renewable Energy

To let: remote farmhouse set in lovely Yorkshire Dales. Accessed by 2-mile farm track. Tenant may need to do basic repairs to windmills.

The Duke of Devonshire's estate is seeking a new tenant for a house near Bolton Abbey powered almost entirely by renewables.

The house is completely off-grid, for both electricity and water.

It has a micro-hydro power generator, two wind turbines and a dash of solar power. The hot water and heating are provided by a Raeburn range fuelled mostly on wood (arguably the most efficient source of renewable energy in the UK).

The house is 900 feet above sea level and the current tenants DavidĀ  and Muriel Allender have learned that they cannot rely on tradesmen arriving to fix their electricity sources. As well as wind, hydro, solar and wood, the Allenders have bottled gas, coal nuggets and oil as a back-up.

They say they get used to having to think about where their energy is coming from - and they always remember to turn off their (low-energy) lights.

Now the Allenders are retiring to Spain the landlords are looking for new tenants who will be able to cope with the Good Life Yorkshire style. Rent will be below the market level to reflect the unique nature of the property.

The home is featured in the online magazine Off-grid's editor Nick Rosen says it does hold some lessons for people living in ordinary homes: "People living in many homes could do something which would at least contribute to alleviating the fact that at least 10% of electricity is lost through the national grid.

"The Tories have announced their new policy that all developments with more than five homes must have some renewable component built in - so on the policy level things are changing a bit."

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