Take a nose around borough’s greenest homes

Eco-expert Sue Wheat on what to look out for during Waltham Forest Green Open Homes

Sue Wheat

Sue Wheat enjoying a touch of DIY

If you love having a peak at other people’s homes to see how they’ve done things an event this month will give you the ideal chance to do so.

Waltham Forest Green Open Homes is now in its third year in Waltham Forest and the range of homes to visit is at its best. Eleven homes are opening up over the weekend of 18th and 19th June to show visitors what they’ve done to make their homes warmer, more comfortable, cheaper to run, and to reduce their household carbon footprint.

This year’s new homes include Clare and Dan’s home near Stoneydown Park which flushes its two loos and runs its washing machine on rainwater. You’ll also be able to meet a group of people in housing need who were so inspired by visiting a self-build group in Chapel End during Green Open Homes last year that they are now starting a self-build housing project of their own.

There are various homes that have made recycling and upcycling their mission including Nicola and Oli’s, whose seaside-themed back garden was made over by Monty Don for BBC2’s Big Dreams, Small Spaces, and Charlie’s house which is entirely furnished through the ‘Walthamstow Sell or Swap’ Facebook group, charity shops, or salvaged items.

My home is one of the green properties that will be open for the weekend. As a standard Victorian terrace we had loads of problems with condensation and cold, so much of our tour is about how we insulated our walls and ventilated the house. We’ve also used a lot of reclaimed building materials to keep down costs.

But Rebecca and Luke’s homemade solar shower takes the prize for sheer ingenuity, providing hot water for free when the sun shines. Visitors are welcome to bring a cossie and try it out!

If you only see one house, it needs to be Dee and Dwight’s Georgian mansion in Leytonstone on Saturday (the only house you need to book in advance). In a long-term refurbishment they have implemented almost every insulation system, solar panel, and energy-saving product you can imagine. They’re now so expert they even run a business selling everything they like on their website.

Waltham Forest Green Open Homes is run by the Hornbeam Centre in Hoe Street. A map with opening days and times will be available from there, and from libraries and the energy pop-up café in Selbourne Walk, from the Thursday before the weekend.

For more information about Waltham Forest Green Open Homes:

Visit www.hornbeam.org.uk/greenhomes