Georgian cottage in Cornwall uses LPG for reliable immediate heat and a lower carbon footprint
When Antonia Parkinson found her dream home, nestled in the small, picturesque Bissoe hamlet in Cornwall, it needed so much work it was deemed un-mortgageable. The previous owner, who had the property since the early 1960s, had never installed proper heating or hot water and the building held the lowest energy rating possible. However, drawn to its original Georgian features, and keen to restore it to its former glory and make it a forever home, Antonia was undeterred and bought the cottage in April 2021.
A heating challenge
“I wanted to find a traditional property that needed doing up, so I could really make it my own,” said Antonia. “But this cottage was so seriously outdated that my friends and family thought I’d taken on far too much. There was no central heating and just a few electric heaters, so when you left the room, it was like an ice box. There was no insulation either, all the windows were single glazed and because it had been vacant for a while, the house was cold, dark, and damp. But I could still see the potential, and I’m not afraid of a challenge!”
Antonia knew she had to find a proper energy solution for the off-grid cottage and coordinated her own in-depth research into the best options. She wanted to find an efficient and cost-effective heating set up – one that would help futureproof the property without comprising its original features. However, Antonia soon realised that a number of energy solutions were unsuitable for the property, as they required a high level of insulation and air tightness.
An energy examination
“These houses were never meant to be insulated to that level,” said Antonia. “They have solid stone walls, which need to breathe, otherwise you end up with condensation issues. They also feature open fires, which is why I’ve kept a log burner in the kitchen. To make the cottage more airtight without ruining the external aesthetics, I’d have to insulate from the inside, which means I would lose valuable space and my rooms are already snug enough.
“Without high levels of insulation, it meant electricity was too expensive and air source heat pumps simply wouldn’t have worked. In fact, I worked out they’d need just as much energy to run as they would generate, so it made no sense. Whilst I liked the idea of ground source heat pumps, they were too pricey to install and solar didn’t fit with the aesthetics of the building and my lovely new slate roof. Oil was out of the question for me, as I’m very environmentally conscious and I didn’t want to use such a carbon-heavy fuel.”
A perfect fit with LPG
After thoroughly reviewing all her energy options, Antonia decided liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) would be the best fit for her property and it made the most sense financially. A local supplier fitted an underground bulk LPG tank in her garden, which now provides Antonia with instant heating and hot water. Plus, once the kitchen is finalised, she’ll have a ready supply of gas for her cooker too.
“LPG is the most economical fuel for my home by far,” added Antonia. “Having a bulk tank also works out cheaper and means I need fewer deliveries. The best bit is, my supplier was able to install it discreetly underground in my garden so it’s completely out of sight. You wouldn’t even know it’s there, which really adds value to the property. But I love knowing I always have a large supply and thanks to automatic top up technology, I won’t ever get caught out without gas, which is so reassuring.”
A greener future Sustainability was a key consideration for Antonia, particularly as she works for a not-for-profit marine conservation project. With LPG emitting 20% fewer carbon emissions than oil and 30- 40% less than coal, it was a clear choice.
It also emits far fewer nitrous oxides, sulphur oxides and particulate matter, making it significantly cleaner and better for the surrounding air quality. “I knew that LPG had a lower carbon footprint compared to other traditional off-grid fuels, and I learned that it has far fewer other pollutants and that was incredibly important to me,” said Antonia.
“I was also aware about the emergence of renewable bio-LPG, and this was another reason for picking LPG now. Once it’s more widely available, it means I’ll have all the right equipment to move over to green gas and become carbon neutral. It’s great to know I’m already perfectly set up for an environmentally-friendly future.”
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