Sunday, 18 July 2021
A Net Zero Family
One family has taken on the net zero challenge in a big way. All four members of the Weeble family from Buxton have certainly pushed the envelope when it comes to net zero housing. The Weebles have abandoned their three bed detached house, turned off the gas, electricity and water and decamped to the garden shed which is now their new home.
It sounded incredibly radical and incredibly interesting so I had to visit them to see how their new net zero lifestyle is working out. Jed and Kaz now live with son Tommee (13) and daughter Toolah (11) in a large wooden shed in their back garden.
I knocked on the door and Jed and Kaz ushered me in with friendly smiles. Their new net zero home seemed a little cramped inside with only wooden stools to sit on, but Jed and Kaz have plans to expand the shed in a net zero and sustainable way using wood salvaged from a nearby recycling centre.
They have already added an annexe, although the kids are not allowed to go in there because it has turned out to be a little damp in wet weather and Kaz says the floor flexes more than it should. Still as Jed says – “it’s early days and we are learning all the time.”
The first and most obvious question which sprang to mind how the kids were adapting to their new lifestyle with no mobile phones, TV or video games. This is due to the absence of an electricity supply although the family expects to have a couple of solar panels installed within a week or two.
I should say at this point that Tommee and Toolah spent most of the interview scowling at their parents while huddled up in a corner. Toolah had what appeared to be an imitation mobile phone made from wood which she used to hold imaginary conversations such as –
“No I’m so sorry, we aren’t allowed to do that. You could come here but you wouldn’t like it at all what with the spiders and the draughts, not to mention the smell my dear. Oh yes my dear it certainly does smell…”
Jed and Kaz would occasionally throw Toolah a tolerant smile suggesting that all is well so I asked them about their abandoned bricks and mortar house standing empty. Wouldn’t it deteriorate and become derelict over the years?
“Oh yes,” enthused Jed, “we are rather looking forward to that, watching the old, planet-destroying way of life finally crumble into the earth.”
“The earth which will in the end receive it with love,” added Kaz. “The earth will take our house into itself and heal the wound we in our ignorance caused.”
At this point Tommee began tapping his forehead with a finger and pulling faces clearly intended to indicate that his parents are a little eccentric. Is that what he meant? I’m not sure.
It began to rain at this point and soon the rain turned into a regular downpour, hammering on the roof and drowning any further conversation. I decided to terminate the interview and leave as soon as the rain eased off. As huge raindrops splintered across the shed windows, the whole business felt more depressing than I’d expected.