Sustainable Energy Usage

Our Sustainable Energy Usage

We know that our energy consumption has the potential to be a significant environmental impact.  See how we try to manage this currently and what we have planned for the future to improve our sustainability and contribute to sustainable tourism by clicking on the topics below.

We will publish our energy consumption and generation figures on a regular basis. Click on each of the graphs to zoom in.


Combination clustered stack and line graph showing electricity consumption and generation against B&B and Camping person nights for Oct 21 to Sep 22
  • The first thing we did when we moved in here was switch to LED light bulbs.
  • The lights in the campsite toilets use PIR controls to switch them on and off to avoid them being left on continuously.
  • The shower block is well insulated and benefits from solar gain through the large west facing window so no heating is required.  A small electric heater on a timer is provided for frost protection in the winter.
  • We have substantially improved the insulation of the B&B to mimise our energy consumption.
    • The insulation in the loft exceeds the current building regulations.
    • The B&B rooms and guest lounge have suspended wooden floors and have been fitted with underfloor heating and insulation.
    • The Family Room which has three external walls has had extra insulation applied to the North and East facing walls.
    • All the windows are double glazed.
  • Wherever possible we dry the laundry on the line outside or within our large sun room.
Photovoltaic Array
Original PV Array
solar panels and scaffolding on a rainy day
Newly Installed PV Array

We have had 3.75 kW of solar panels since we started but in February 2024 we added a further 16 panels bringing out total up to 10.5 kW and a 5kW battery.  The entire system is controllable from an app on our phones.  We anticipate that our overall electricity consumption will increase as we reduce our dependence on oil for water heating.

We do have mains electricity and we have chosen to use a flexible renewable energy tarrif. Please help us to keep our prices down by switching off lights and applicances when not in use.  We top up the battery with renewable energy from the grid overnight to heat up water for early in the morning before the sun gets up.

There are 2 banks of 30 evacuated tubes connected to our 300 litre smart hot water tank.  On a sunny day these heat the circulating water to over 100 degrees, and will heat the 300l of water to over 50 degrees during the day. 

Screenshot from mixergy app showing 100% hot water

During our renovations in 2021 we replaced the hot water system with an intelligent tank from Mixergy.

This provides a computerised controller which can optimise the use of solar thermal and surplus solar PV energy to heat up to 300 litres of water. When the demand for hot water is more than the solar can provide, the system will top up with either mains electricity or from the oil-fired boiler depending on our settings.

We can monitor hot water levels, energy usage and overall performance from a pc or mobile phone.  It occasionally has a blip if a lot of people have showers early in the morning in quick succession or a deep bath late at night and use all the hot water.  If there is none when you turn on the tap – please turn it off and please wait a few minutes while it heats up again and catches up with demand.  

Please be considerate of others and the environment when showering.  A 4 minute shower uses up to 36 l of water whereas a 15 minute shower can use up to half a tank.  Take the 4 minutes shower challenge

As there’s no mains gas here the main heating system for Riverside B&B is an oil-fired boiler.  It currently works but we intend to replace it with an air source heat pump system. 

A first step towards this was to replace the existing radiator-based heating with underfloor heating and to improve the underfloor insulation which we completed in January 2024.  This was a major undertaking causing much disruption and could only have been done in the off-season

As we’re surrounded by several acres of woodland, there is a ready supply of wood onsite. Regular maintenance of the woods produces plenty of logs to power our 2 wood burners (one in the guest lounge and one in our private area) which provide welcome top-up heating for damp chilly evenings.

We also supply logs to our campers for campfires from our woodlands, and use them to fire up our pizza oven for tasty homemade pizzas.

Future projects will include

  • Air or ground source heat pump to replace our aging boiler
  • Micro/pico hydro using our streams
  • Convert the stables into camping pods with solar powered low voltage lighting and wood stoves for heating.
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