WITH winter looming and energy bills becoming unaffordable, I decided to see for myself what a converted home looks like when made into an eco-home. Last week I visited a home that was virtually rebuild and made into an eco-home of the future; not a normal up-grade.

The home was a lovely example of how to keep warm in the winter and with very low energy costs.  There are two ways of getting an eco-home.

One way is to buy a new-build specially built for the purpose if you can find one. The other way is to up-grade your existing house.

New builds to be a true eco home should have something like the following: solar power for most of the electricity; heat-pumps for space heating and some water heating.

These systems can be either a wet system, which is normally underfloor heating, or warm air through ducting, which in turn can be built into a heat capturing system.

The great advantage of ducting is that you can add into it an air cooling system at the same time which is not that much more in costs when done at the same time.

With hotter summers in the future, I would recommend adding the cooling part to all systems. And of course, very well insulated walls, floors and ceilings, plus triple glazing.

And to be a fully-fledged eco home, a Gray water and rain water system to flush the toilets.  These homes are normally more expensive than non eco houses, but cheaper in the long run.

As the government has not made new eco house compulsory yet – which is a disgrace, the next best home is your house which can be up graded. You probably won’t be able to say it is a true eco home with a grey water system, and possibly not an air ducted system, but the rest is achievable.

The biggest problem I found on my visit was to just retrofit our homes with energy saving measures, is very costly and the up-heavily is difficult.

The price difference varies greatly on costs to up-grade your home depending on the size of house and how difficult it would be to do. It could be anything between £20,00 to £50,000.

These eye-watering figures are why there must be a nationwide scheme with low cost loans and grants to help get this done, or other wise getting to net zero any time soon, is just words and fantasies!

The other shocking reality is all the hundreds of thousands of houses being built now until eco homes are mandatory - is the cost to upgrade them won’t be much less than converting your old house. This is a national scandal and outrage!