Power, Light & Data

Power: we are on a standard mains supply. We did consider renewable generation but the area of roof required for effective photovoltaic generation was unacceptable to us, the house is too sheltered for reliable wind generation and the adjacent streams were not consistent enough for a cost-effective micro-hydro installation.  Our choice then was to rely on mains electricity and to focus on renewable energy for all of our thermal needs. We have completely rewired the house and installed modern consumer units and RCDs throughout and all new electrical appliances have been chosen for minimum consumption in use and negligible consumption on standby.

Lighting: Lighting when we moved in was a combination of fluorescent strip lights in the kitchen and downstairs flat with single incandescent bulbs in most rooms plus incandescent wall fittings in the then living room. There was a total of 39 fittings with a typical in-use draw of 8-900W. We created a lighting design that was appropriate to the intended use of each room, with multiple lighting zones and circuits. All interior and external lighting is by 2700K LED fittings of 4-6W each, with wall lights using low-energy bulbs colour-matched to the LEDs and network-controllable LED strip lighting in the living room. We now have a total of 145 light fittings and a typical draw when the house is occupied is a maximum of 70-100W, the whole however lit to a far higher standard than before.

Network & A/V: we decided to have a centralised storage and distribution for both audiovisual sources and household networking. A systems rack (node 0) in the utility room provides patch panels for network configuration, storage for media servers, a distribution point for satellite TV and battery backup for all of these. The whole house is wired with shielded Cat6 cable for both network and A/V distribution, as well as point-to-point satellite signal cabling and in-wall cabling for in-room loudspeaker and HDMI. In total, nearly 2.5km of network and A/V cabling was installed.  A wired backbone allows us to provide good wi-fi coverage throughout using base stations in each part of the house where the thick stone walls otherwise prevent wi-fi coverage of multiple rooms.

A single satellite dish is used for both broadcast TV reception and Ka-band internet access: there is no terrestrial TV or DAB coverage here and terrestrial broadband is currently at the abysmal level typical of much of the rural UK.

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