If you’re around Gloucestershire this weekend, 10/11th September, 28 homes and businesses throughout the Forest of Dean and Newent will be open to the public demonstrating how to save money and CO2 through energy saving design and technologies. This is Transition Forest of Dean and Newent Eco open homes event, part of the Heritage Open Days scheme. As well as seeing Rainwater harvesting systems and self sufficient gardens our own Chapel Farm, in Hartpury, will be open as an example of a new build embracing eco-ideals from the start. You could argue that our greenest option could have been to stay living on site in a caravan! However, given that the existing farmhouse was subsiding due to a combination of the mud stone it was built of, the clay soil and the number of large willow trees in the garden, we wanted to demonstrate that it was possible to build a well designed home, sensitive to it’s locality whilst minimising it’s environmental impact and to strict budget! The part green oak framed Chapel Farm house was built re-using lots of materials from the previous house, is clad in locally produced larch from the Forest of Dean, and designed to maximise solar gain with high insulation values. We have a ground source heat pump and two 1.5 kw wind turbines. In 2007 Chapel Farm was a finalist in the Grand Designs Eco-homes Awards.