Caplin Homes begin work on their Solar House

Stuart Caplin and Stephen Costello Demonstrating the under floor heat storage systemCaplin Homes the innovative and creative builders based in Great Glen have recently started work on the UK's first completely solar-powered house, which was given the go ahead by Harborough District Council in December. They believe this type of technology can be used to power houses suited to all budgets. Amazingly the heating and hot water will be provided throughout the year by storing summer heat in the ground beneath the building for use in winter. Their ambition is to demonstrate to other house builders that affordable zero carbon living can be provided for all kinds of houses, freeing their occupants from ever rising energy bills.

Hybrid solar panels on the roof collect both heat and electrical energy. The heat is transferred to a matrix of pipes which warms the earth between the foundation walls. This energy is recovered by a heat pump and is sufficient to power the five bedroom house for the whole winter.

The house will be totally self sufficient except for 10 weeks when the solar power will not be strong enough but then you can rely on the extra power from the underground heating pipes. Dr Andrew Wright of De Montfort University was delighted to be playing a key role in this important project. A post graduate student from the University will be monitoring the energy flows in the building over its first year and will publish the results so that they can be used to model the application of the technology in other types of housing.

The two storey property which will have plenty of south-facing triple glazed windows will be on the market once completed, hopefully in August for over £1 million pounds with County properties.

Image: Stuart Caplin and Stephen Costello Demonstrating the under floor heat storage system