Home Grown Sustainability

Ben, son Ethan and Freddie the dog in the field

Over the past year, most of us have spent the majority of our days at home. With time on our hands and the spotlight on climate change, many of us have been reassessing our priorities and making lifestyle changes to reduce our carbon footprint.

One of our principal mechanical engineers, Ben Gudzelak, has gone further than most, taking the leap to move from Yorkshire down to Somerset to set up a totally sustainable home with his family. Ben told us a bit about their plans, including their first major project to help tackle flooding in the local area.

Why did we do this?

Like a lot of families, we’ve started being more conscience of our effect on the environment and have been cutting down our plastic waste etc for some time.

We have a dream of being totally sustainable at our ‘forever’ property, which we moved into just before Christmas.

We are taking steps to improve the fabric of the house, such as insulating the roof space, adding PVs and installing double glazing throughout, in preparation for installing an air source heat pump to replace the oil-fired boiler. We are looking at installing waste-water heat recovery systems onto the showers, and our gas Aga will be replaced with a more efficient electric Esse.

Planting New Trees

Alongside our house we have six acres of agricultural fields sloping down into the village of Croscombe. We wanted to do something with this land which would benefit the environment, with the village being hit by severe flooding recently and with the ongoing ash die back. Planting some trees in one of our fields should go some way to helping with both these issues and create a nice environment to encourage local wildlife.

We received assistance from Reimagining the Levels (RTL), a local group committed to safeguarding the future of the Somerset Levels and Moors. RTL provided native trees and shrubs and organised 20 volunteers to help plant them. They also provided a grant to put a fence across the line of trees to stop the sheep from destroying the young plants.

It will be a lovely spot for wildlife to flourish, hopefully help to reduce flooding in the village and offsetting around 300 tons of CO2. With a public footpath through the field, it will be a wood for everyone to enjoy when it establishes itself.

Our next project will be to create a pond to further encourage more diverse wildlife and create another pleasant area for people to enjoy as they pass through our field.

Here at Crookes Walker Consulting we actively promote a sustainable ethos within our team, not only with our designs but within everything we do. We are proud to have individuals like Ben who not only design-in sustainable solutions but live them too. We were very pleased to support this project by providing Ben with a paid half day off to carry out the work, and wish him all the best with future projects.