Basingstoke Good Life: Couple spend just £50 a YEAR on bills
- The Good Life: Couple spend just £50 a YEAR on bills, collect rain water to flush toilets and grow their own food... from their detached bungalow in Basingstoke
Yvonne and Steven Lucas have bee hives for honey and chickens for eggs
Pair installed solar panels in their 40ft garden to generate hot water
By Anna Edwards
PUBLISHED: 13:19, 11 July 2013 | UPDATED: 18:07, 11 July 2013
They spend barely any money on bills and produce their own honey.
It's certainly the Good Life for Yvonne and Steven Lucas, who spend just £4 a month on their electricity and heating bill by living The Good Life.
Yvonne, 48, and Steven, 53, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, have slashed their energy bills by installing solar panels, growing their own fruit and vegetables and collecting rainwater to flush their toilets.
The couple have developed their suburban property so as to become as self-sufficient as possible
They have ranks of solar panels in back and front gardens reducing their bills to £50 a year
The prudent pair model themselves on the characters from cult 1970s comedy TV show The Good Life, starring Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal, by creating a simple and self-sufficient lifestyle.
Since installing a water meter, they have seen the bills for their three-bedroom detached bungalow drop from £200 a year to under £30 for six months.
They also own six-acre woodland in Surrey as well as their own bee hives to produce honey and chickens to lay fresh eggs.
Thrifty Steven brought his first set of solar panels in 1992 and has stepped up his cost-saving green campaign since being made redundant in 2010.
The former electronics engineer said: 'We visited the Centre for Technology in Wales in 1992 and brought our first couple of solar panels. From that it has just evolved.
They grow a huge variety of vegetables, harvest multiple fruits from their home orchard and keep chickens as well as bees
Steven turns the handle of a Crossley PH1060 paraffin hopper used for topping up the batteries used for storing solar energy in the back garden of the home
'We have always grown organically but we knew we wanted to do more for the environment and over the years have brought more and more.'
Yvonne and Steven, who have two sons James, 22, and Jonathon, 19, installed solar panels in their 40ft garden to generate hot water, which they use in their home.
Knitting teacher Yvonne added: 'We dont feed our solar panels into the national grid as we store the energy in a two kilowatt battery system.
'If our neighbours didnt have any power we would still be able to turn out lights on, have access to the washing machine and everything else.
'Our rain harvesting system also collects around collect around 1,000 gallons which we to flush our toilets and for day-to-day living.
'All our chutneys, jams, cordial and wine are home-made, as well as keeping bees for honey.
Thrifty Steven brought his first set of solar panels in 1992 and has stepped up his cost-saving green campaign since being made redundant in 2010
'Weve always been interested in gardening and recycling and having a more environmentally friendly life style.
'Gradually we did more and more upgrading, reusing and recycling items which has saved us a lot of money.'
Vegetarians Yvonne and Steven use three allotments, two greenhouses and their garden to grow more than 15 fruit trees, a wide variety of vegetables and herbs, flowers and several ponds.
Six years ago they also brought the woodland to use the timber to fuel their wood burner and carry our repairs at their eco-friendly property.
Steven added: 'We only probably spend five hours a week working on the land because we try and keep on top of it.
'We also use the woodland to camp down there once a month to collect and chop wood and enjoy the bird life.
'We have even managed to see badgers down there one evening - until a woodpecker disturbed them.
'Its great being able to enjoy the great outdoors.'
Yvonne said: 'Our friends joke we are like The Good Life television show - we just dont have a pig in our garden!
'Everybody can do their bit by recycling more and turning things off when they are not in use.
'You cant get away from plastic products but you can make sure everything possible gets recycled, sometimes we only put our bins out once a month.
'Even composting green waste helps.'