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FAQs >
Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is solar energy?
  • What is active solar energy?
  • What is passive solar energy?
  • Can I heat my house with solar energy?
  • How long will solar thermal panels last?
  • How does the heat recovery system work?
  • Are the windows draught-proof?
  • How are the houses insulated?
  • How are the houses heated?
  • How are the houses constructed?
  • Where does your wood come from?
  • What is the life expectancy of the larch cladding?
  • What are the structural walls made of?
  • Do you use sustainable materials?
  • Why do you use metal guttering?
  • What kind of paint do you use?
  • Where does The Wintles’ electricity come from?
  • How does The Wintles residents’ management committee work?
  • How many houses will there be in total on The Wintles?
  • Does The Wintles have broadband?
     
    What is solar energy?
    Solar energy is the radiation falling on the planet from dawn to dusk as direct sunlight and indirect, scattered light. Both types can be captured.
    What is active solar energy?
    Active solar energy is sunlight which is actively converted by solar panels to electricity (solar electric or solar photovoltaic panels) or hot water (solar thermal panels).
    What is passive solar energy?
    This is trapping the power of the sun to heat your house by passive means – a lot of glass, dark walls, solid materials, etc. All new housing should be built to capture the maximum solar energy – not only is it free to the user, it is kind to the planet.
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    Can I heat my house with solar energy?
    Unlikely. 99% or more of solar thermal systems are installed to heat domestic hot water. You can obtain at least 55-60% over the year, and up to 100% in the summer, of your domestic hot water.

    The best and most cost-effective way to warm your house is by very high insulation levels and by passive solar-glazed areas to trap solar energy which is then directed into the house.
    How long will solar thermal panels last?
    The best solar systems (Thermomax, Filsol, AES etc.) can be expected to last 25 years or more. Thermomax use marine-grade stainless steel for external components, and 30+ years may be possible. They will pay for themselves, with many years of free energy to follow.
    How does the heat recovery system work?
    This works by taking the hot air out of the warm living areas, i.e. bathroom, kitchen and living room. It retains the heat in the exchange unit, expels the stale air, draws in fresh air from outdoors and heats it, then disperses it through vents in every room with underfloor heating.
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    Are the windows draught-proof?
    Yes. All our properties have double glazing as standard. The windows are designed to Scandinavian standards of thermal efficiency.
    How are the houses insulated?
    On The Wintles, we have used 'Warmcell' insulation, which is recycled newspaper. It is vacuum-packed into a membrane in the wall cavities. The insulation is 300mm thick. Future Living Villages may use different insulation products or materials.
    How are the houses heated?
    On The Wintles there is gas-fuelled underfloor heating throughout the ground floor and in the bathrooms. However, with high levels of insulation, the heat recovery system and the double glazing means that you probably won't need to use the underfloor heating very much as long as the house is occupied and functioning as a busy family home.
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    How are the houses constructed?
    Our houses are manufactured off-site in panel systems and constructed on-site.
    Where does your wood come from?
    Our wood is FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council), which means it comes from a well-managed forest where new trees are planted to replace felled trees.

    The fencing is of semi-durable larch, ‘bark on’ to provide natural habitation. Our decking is also larch, on oak to prevent rotting. Wood boarding is larch too, and fascias and soffits are of oak for maximum durability.
    What is the life expectancy of the larch cladding?
    Larch has its own antibacterial resin, and should have a lifespan of between thirty and fifty years.
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    What are the structural walls made of?
    The heavy beams are made from either Douglas fir, oak or larch. To maximise insulation there is a second stud wall made from locally sawn softwood.
    Do you use sustainable materials?
    Yes, wherever possible. Sand, gravel and lime is locally sourced, and the flagstones are reclaimed. Plastics are recycled polyethylene. For our underground pipes we use PVC, which has an infinite life, so is considered not a bad option in terms of sustainability.

    The lime render on our houses actually takes up CO² from the atmosphere when setting, is breathable and allows water to soak out - unlike cement, which traps water inside. It acts as a rain shield, and in around a hundred years time it will turn back to limestone.

    Why do you use metal guttering?
    Because copper or zinc are recyclable materials with a long lifespan and they look a lot nicer than plastic.
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    What kind of paint do you use?
    We use environmentally-friendly paints both externally and internally.
    Where does The Wintlesí electricity come from?
    Our electricity supplier is Good Energy, providing 100% renewable electricity sourced from the natural energy of wind, sun or running water. An average Good Energy customer saves two tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions a year, the equivalent amount of emissions produced on a 5,000-mile journey in a petrol-fuelled car. The CO2 emissions of an average household can be reduced by up to one-third.
    How does The Wintles residentsí management company work?
    Living Villages developments include land that is shared by the residents. Usually these areas are used for recreation, gardening or sport, or as woodland, orchards or allotments connected to the housing developments.

    Each household has an automatic share in the ownership and control of these areas via a residentsí management company. This company operates in the same way as a conventional management company for people who live in apartments with a shared lobby, or facilities such as a gym. When the development is completed, the residents take over the complete ownership and control of the shared areas of the site.

    The residentsí management companies are also empowered to do things like set up car clubs, bulk-purchase telephone time or power supplies from green sources, organise local food supply chains, childcare or care of the elderly or build new facilities like health clubs.

    Each of the households has the opportunity to participate in the running of the residentsí company and to vote on suggestions made. Likewise, residents will be responsible for their share of the costs of facilities or amenities that the residentsí company provides. After a development is complete, Living Villages does not have any power or involvement in the management companies.

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    How many houses will there be in total on The Wintles?
    There will be forty houses in total.
    Does The Wintles have broadband?
    Yes. All houses are designed to be suitable for those who wish to work from home.