Jamie and I have aimed to ensure the balance at the house is as eco and socially responsible as we can while not compromising on comfort and quality in any way.
We continue to strive to make the house as eco-friendly as it can be with the aim of being 90% “off grid” and while this is a continuous journey, we have made some key adjustments to the house since we finished renovating in December 2017.
We have used solar panels to generate heat to heat our hot water systems, with the abundance of sunshine in Sri Lanka we felt this was the least we could do, solar entirely powers the hot water in the house.
We were so paranoid about there not being enough hot water we doubled the capacity of the solar hot water we installed to make sure that the hot water never runs out! It may take a few minutes to reach the rooms, but then its piping hot and abundant. If there happens to be rainy or overcast days, we have a trip switch in the solar that heats the water by electric means, but 2 years in the running almost and have never turned this switch on to date!
We were so happy with the hot water solar that in April 2019 we added 31 full solar panels to the house on parts of the roof not visible to anyone unless you happen to go down the side lane.
These panels have made the house totally off grid in terms of our electricity supply, these 31 panels provide the house’s entire electricity needs including all our air conditioners, and we even sell excess energy to the National Grid. Plus if the grid goes down for any reason, we have our generator to ensure no loss of energy (or comfort!) to the house. The generator can power the entire house and all the air conditioners in case the grid should fail in the middle of the night and it auto trips on so you won’t even notice we have switched energy source.
It’s because we have mains water, and a generator that Merchant House can’t reach 100% true off grid living, but we have achieved our aim of 90% off grid. All our water for the garden comes from rain water we harvest from the roof and the well in the back garden.