MEMBERS of a family who gave up their comfortable family home in Ebbw Vale to build a state-of-the-art eco farm near Blackwood are enjoying life off-grid.

Arthur Davies, his wife Sue and their daughter Bronwen moved to live at the award-winning Maes Yr Onn Farm,Manmoel in July 2013- the first totally sustainable property of its kind in the Caerphilly borough.

The three-bedroom farmhouse is 100 percent off the grid and features a number of sustainable technologies including photovoltaic panels, rainwater harvesting, a biomass boiler and thermal stores and innovative skirting board heating.

The family has worked in partnership with Caerphilly council’s sustainable development team, Building Research Establishment and energy provider SWALEC. Over the past two years their use of renewable energy technologies and the overall energy water consumption has been monitored by Cardiff University.

During the first year the family’s water use averaged around 63 litres of water per person per day. This compares against the national average as reported by D?r Cymru Welsh Water as 157 litres per person per day.

Original reports suggested that the electrical energy used at the farm would be around 7kilowatt hours per day. The average daily usage for the family during the summer was 2.15 kilowatt hours per day. The usage was significantly lower than that of a typical house connected the mains electricity, which is said to consume on average 8.8 kilowatt hours per day.

Although the family made some slight adjustments to their everyday routines, for example, doing the washing and ironing on sunny days they say that living completely off-grid hasn’t changed their appliance usage.

Councillor Ken James, Caerphilly council's cabinet member for regeneration, planning and sustainable development, said: “I am very pleased to see that the family are living an incredibly sustainable lifestyle in their impressive home.”

“We are very proud of what the partnership working has managed to achieve and the build was formally recognised in 2013 when it won the Wales Planning Award at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Cymru’s dinner.”